T20 World Cup: Jordan, Rashid and Buttler propel England into semi-finals | Crickit
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T20 World Cup: Jordan, Rashid and Buttler propel England into semi-finals

Jun 24, 2024 02:18 AM IST

The defending champions hand co-hosts USA a 10-wicket thrashing to qualify from Super Eight Group 2 in Barbados

This first 20-team T20 World Cup has thrown up newer contests. USA versus England is a more regular fixture at the rugby World Cup. Even football; the two nations have faced off thrice. But this was their first encounter in cricket. Not just at World Cups, even T20Is.

England's Chris Jordan, third right without cap, celebrates with teammates after getting a hat-trick by dismissing United States' Saurabh Netralvakar(PTI)
England's Chris Jordan, third right without cap, celebrates with teammates after getting a hat-trick by dismissing United States' Saurabh Netralvakar(PTI)

Although USA had exceeded expectations and held their own in the competition except for the match against co-hosts West Indies, facing holders England – out to seal a semi-finals berth – was always going to be a tall order.

England ended up handing USA a 10-wicket thrashing in the Super Eight Group 2 game in Bridgetown, Barbados. England were required to achieve 116 runs inside 18.4 overs to make it to the semis. They took only 9.4 overs, and did it in some style. There was a Chris Jordan over that produced four wickets, including a hat-trick, and an over where Jos Buttler smashed Harmeet Singh for five consecutive sixes.

England won an important toss and earned the right to make first use of the conditions at Barbados. A little over halfway through USA’s innings England had got all their wickets by serving a complete bouquet of variations suited for the tacky surface on a hot Sunday morning at the Kensington Oval.

Sam Curran got his 50th T20I wicket with a back-of-the-hand slower ball. Adil Rashid spun a web with his googlies. Leg-spinners are a force in T20 cricket in being able to compel the batter to take risks against good deliveries. Rashid makes a living out of doing so consistently. Aaron Jones had had some success with the slog sweep in the tournament. But having been conditioned by Rashid to face the leg-spinner, Jones left a huge gap between bat and pad when he tried to slog one directed at the stumps. To his dismay, the zing bails lit up. It ended the stay of Barbados’ USA export for 10.

Much the same way, Rashid’s googly forced the most technically sound of all USA batters, Nitish Kumar (30), into a cross-batted heave. This one came from a slightly wider trajectory but was aimed for the middle stump and found its target. After a reasonable powerplay to get 48/2, USA were pegged back to 69/4 after 11 overs. It was only going to get worse.

England bowlers had a measure of the conditions. With Rashid (4-0-13-2) and Liam Livingstone (4-0-24-1) having strangled the scoring rate with their spin, all the pacers had to do was to run in fast but bowl slow. Hit the surface with their cutters and force the batters into pushing the issue. So effective were they that USA could muster only one over above 10 runs in the second half of their batting innings.

Jordan hat-trick

Somewhere during USA’s batting struggles, Jofra Archer began cranking up his pace in the death overs. He did not get rewarded but fellow Barbados-born teammate Chris Jordan did. Jordan was the third Bajan playing in the match and took home all the winnings.

He began the 19th over with Corey Anderson (29) holing out to long-on. A dot ball later, he would aim for the stumps with old fashioned length bowling. Three times in a row, the batters missed and Jordan hit. Ali Khan, Nosthush Kenjige and Saurabh Netravalkar became Jordan’s hat-trick victims. The 35-year-old England pacer was beaming after delivering a famous spell (2.5-0-10-4) at a venue where so many West Indies pacers of yesteryear had left a mark. It was the World Cup’s second hat-trick of the day, after Aussie spearhead Pat Cummins against Afghanistan.

As a team, USA had crumbled spectacularly with their last five wickets falling in six balls to be bowled out for 115 in 18.5 overs.

England openers, Buttler in particular (83*- 38b, 6x4, 7x6), -- Phil Salt made 25* -- gave USA bowlers a hiding as their unbroken 117-run partnership saw England through to the knock-outs.

This has left South Africa and West Indies to fight it out for the other semi-final spot from Group 2.

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