England storm in to the Semis - magic runs down for USA

Monday, 24 June 2024 - 9:07

England 117 for 0 (Buttler 83*) beat USA 115 (Nitish 30, Jordan 4-10, Rashid 2-13) by ten wickets

England have booked their place in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup 2024 with a commanding 10-wicket win over USA in their final Super Eight match. Using just 9.4 overs to chase down 116, thanks to Jos Buttler's 83 not out from 38 deliveries, the defending champions have boosted their net run rate (NRR) to 1.992 for good measure.

Such a dominant win was set-up by Chris Jordan, who became the first England player to take a men's T20I hat-trick. Jordan, brought back into the XI for Mark Wood, took four wickets from his final five deliveries - joining Ireland's Curtis Campher as the only other bowler to achieve that feat at a T20 World Cup - as the USA collapsed from 115 for 5 to 115 all out.

Although for all the focus on ­Jordan and Buttler, this victory over the USA was set up by the latest ­exhibition of middle-overs ­asphyxiation from Adil Rashid. In tandem with Liam Livingstone, who claimed one for 24, Rashid’s four overs leaked only 13 runs, no boundaries, and his sleight-of-hand googly picked up two wickets clean bowled.

They were the strikes that ­ultimately defined the innings. Reece Topley had removed Andries Gous in the first over, USA’s top-scorer in the tournament attempting a second six, and a smart slower ball from Sam Curran accounted for Steven Taylor. But it was not until Rashid outfoxed the Barbados-raised Aaron Jones, their best player of spin, and Nitish Kumar, seemingly set on 30 from 24 balls, that the result felt a formality.

There was some resistance as Corey Anderson scrapped his way to 29 from 28 balls and cleared the rope with one reverse-swept six. But the former New ­Zealand international is no longer the player who once held the record for the fastest one-day international century in history (36 balls) and after he sent a full toss from Jordan down the throat of long-on to make it 115 for seven at the start of the 19th over, the innings unspooled.

England, meanwhile, became the first team to reach the semi-finals despite a campaign in which they were one further rain shower in ­Antigua away from a first-round exit. They may even have a poorer record overall than some of those to miss out but win their next two games and they will be T20 world ­champions once more.

The target of 116 needed to be chased down in 18.4 overs to ensure England's NRR would go ahead of South Africa's and ensure they had a firm grasp on second-place in the group. Buttler, however, was aiming higher.

After a quiet start, Buttler raced to 44 from 26 deliveries at the end of the powerplay - in which England scored 60 - which included cracking a solar panel with the first of two consecutive sixes off Saurabh Netravalkar.

He saved his most brutal assault for Harmeet Singh's second over - the ninth - getting the strike for the second ball and striking five sixes. The first took him to his first half-century of the tournament, from 32 deliveries. An over later, Buttler's late cut took England over the line with 62 balls to spare.

It means England will finish top of the group if West Indies beat South Africa in Group 2's final fixture by a margin fewer than 52 runs. A South Africa win, taking them to six points, will see England finish second.

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