Before facing India in the semi-finals, England skipper Jos Buttler said his team will try its best to deny another India vs Pakistan clash in the T20 World Cup 2022. The Three Lions did spoil the party for the Men in Blue at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday, thrashing them by 10 wickets to storm into the mega finale. Now the stage is set at the Melbourne Cricket Ground where they will square off against Pakistan on Sunday.
England’s journey in the tournament wasn’t easy at all. They were often jolted by obstacles in the form of Injury concerns and unfavourable weather. But they kept silent, followed the process, and believed in themselves. The methodology of keep going without worrying about the situation took them to the final and now, they are just 40 overs away from putting their hand on the prestigious silverware.
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Both England and Pakistan will be playing the third T20 World Cup final but for the first time, they are up against each other in the battle for the title. Back in 1992, these two teams played the final of the 50-over World Cup at the MCG when Imran Khan’s Pakistan took the trophy. Babar Azam & Co are looking to repeat history, but Buttler & his men would definitely be having other plans.
Will Buttler be the third English captain to have an ICC trophy under his belt? The question will be answered on Sunday but before they walk out at the MCG for the final lap, let’s have a look at England’s journey in the tournament so far.
Campaign opener against Afghanistan
Afghanistan seemed to be a tough challenge for England, given their performance in the Asia Cup where they were on a roll. But Sam Curran’s 5-wicket haul made the task easier for men in red. After winning the toss, England folded Mohammad Nabi & Co for a paltry 112 and then chased down the target with 5 wickets and 11 balls to spare. The campaign began with an easy win.
Stunned by Ireland at the MCG
This World Cup was heavily threatened by the Melbourne weather. The rain affected several games in the tournament and one of them was England’s second Super 12 tie against Ireland. Andrew Balbirnie fired a 47-ball 62 while wicketkeeper Lorcan Tucker scored 34 in 27 to help Ireland set a 158-run target. In reply, England had a horrific start. Buttler fell for a duck while Alex Hales and Ben Stokes were back in the hut inside the powerplay. England lost 5 of their batters when the rain played the villain. A wet MCG outfield didn’t allow the play to resume and since England were 5 runs behind the DLS par score, they had to suffer the defeat.
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Australia tie washed out
Once again, the Melbourne weather spoiled the mood as England’s clash with arch-rivals Australia was abandoned due to rain. The players arrived at the MCG, had their teas, and wished for the rain to stop. And when it didn’t happen, they shook hands with Aaron Finch & Co and returned with one point.
Back to Business against New Zealand
England were back afresh against the Kiwis and ruled The Gabba. Buttler had won the toss again and didn’t change his decision of batting first. The English skipper, along with his opening partner, stitched an 81-run stand for the first wicket. Buttler scored a 47-ball 73 while Hales contributed with a 52-run knock in 40 deliveries as England mounted a score of 179 for 6 in 20 overs. Later, Sam Curran and Chris Woakes picked up 2 wickets each as England restricted New Zealand to 159/6. Buttler & Co won the game by 20 runs.
Defeated Sri Lanka to get into the semis
England had a simple equation to follow – either defeat Sri Lanka or go home. They needed 2 more points to enter the semis and thankfully, the Net Run Rate wasn’t an issue as they were ahead of the Aussies. As planned, Buttler’s bowlers contained the Lankans to a lowly 141/8 and then Hales and Stokes set the base for a 4-wicket win. England were through to the semis and defending champions, also the hosts, were knocked out.
A historic win against India
The semi-final clash against India will be etched as England’s greatest victory in the T20 World Cups. On the other hand, the Indian fans will remember it as one of the biggest and most humiliating defeats. Virat Kohli (50) and Hardik Pandya (63) played their hearts out to take India to 168/6 but Buttler-Hales turned out to be the supreme force that wrecked the Indian ship. The England skipper smashed an unbeaten 80 off 49 balls while his batting partner scored 86 not-out in 57 deliveries as England mauled India by 10 wickets.
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Final against Pakistan at MCG
The finalists of the 1992 50-over World Cup are here again at the MCG but this time, the format is different. Despite the weather and injury concerns, England are looking forward to the big game.
“Any time you get a chance to play in a World Cup final is a huge honour. We’re really excited as a group, there’s a nice feel around the team. The previous performance (against India) gives us a lot of confidence, but it doesn’t count for anything. Tomorrow we start a fresh game against a really tough opposition and any time you are fighting for a trophy you know it isn’t going to come easy,” Buttler said at the pre-match presser on Saturday.
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