Hales-Buttler stand of the century puts England in charge

Hardik Pandya’s brilliant 33-ball 63 shot helped India post a competitive 168/6 in their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup semi-final clash against England in Adelaide Thursday.

India had a tough start to the innings as they lost KL Rahul’s wicket early. Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma tried to build a partnership but some very tight bowlers from England bowlers didn’t allow them to score at a fast pace.

Rohit went for 27 of 28 deliveries in the ninth round of innings, while Suryakumar Yadav also perished quickly for 14. But Kohli and Pandya stayed and deepened the game. Kohli was dismissed just after scoring his fifty in the 18th . But Pandya went on and launched an assault to take India to a competitive 168/6 in their 20 overs. Pandya’s efforts helped India add 68 runs over the last five overs, 54 of which came from Pandya’s bat.

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England must now hunt 169 to book their place in the final. The Indian bowlers, however, hope to defend the total in hand and stage a clash against Pakistan in the final.

Fast bowler Mark Wood (hip) and key hitter Dawid Malan (groin) were ruled out ahead of the draw, with veteran dressmaker Chris Jordan and top hitter Phil Salt named as their replacements.

The loss of Wood in particular is a blow for England, with the pacemaker having already won nine wickets in the T20 World Cup and regularly hitting speeds in excess of 150mph.

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His place in the XI will be taken by Jordan, who is an 82 T20I veteran and last played for England in their series against Australia just before the start of the T20 World Cup.

Salt hasn’t played in that same run, with the 26-year-old’s last game against England coming in their seven-game series in Pakistan in early October.

Buttler said ahead of Thursday’s game that he has faith in everyone on his talented squad.

“We have some fantastic players who haven’t played in the tournament yet, and they’re all desperate to make their mark if given a chance,” Buttler said.

“I have complete faith in every member of our squad, lads, whether they’ve played so far or not.”

India remained with the same XI that beat Zimbabwe by 73 points in the tournament’s final game of the Super 12 stage, meaning southpaw Rishabh Pant is preferred over Dinesh Karthik.

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India: KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma (c), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wk), Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh

England: Alex Hales, Jos Buttler (c, wk), Phil Salt, Ben Stokes, Harry Brook, Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Chris Jordan

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