England win. Rashid and Hales at home. Jos. India's middle and bad day. The MCG weather.

Day 26 of the World Cup

England win

That was a hammering. India were barely involved in this match. England played the dimensions of the pitch, forced India to go slow, or at the least, very much encouraged it. And then they attacked from the first legal delivery to the last.

This was the old school England team. A bowling unit held together by Adil Rashid and multiple options. And a batting line up where Adil Rashid and his ten first class hundreds come in at number Xi.

It says a lot that they didn’t need to worry about their deep batting, they didn’t lose a wicket at all. There were times when I wondered if the pitch was a bit two paced, early on in Hardik’s innings against the legspinners and Rohit Sharma using the toe of his bat.

England made it look pretty good though. This was their fourth quickest knock this year. And the thing is, because of the injuries, Malan’s catch ups, Morgan’s form, injuries, resting players and Covid, we really haven’t seen England just be England for a very long time.

This is what they were doing in 2016, just simply scoring too fast for other teams. But since then, India have been quicker, and even New Zealand are on the same level.

It’s the same if you look at the last two years or even this year as well. Even in this World Cup so far we really hadn’t seen this, the batting order exploding as it was designed too.

But this was the original plan way back when Bayliss and Morgan first got together. Bat hard, bat deep, and try make 20 plus what any other team can. The bowlers back then were an afterthought, and with so many injuries, that is kind of what happened today.

England at their best should be able to bat any team out of the World Cup. And today, that team was India.

Hales and Rashid

From outcast to player of the match in a World Cup semi final. Alex Hales has certainly had an eventful few months.

When Jason Roy’s form made him unelectable, Hales’ international career was thrown a lifeline. It is a second (third?) chance he has made the most of.

Hales now has 211 runs in the tournament, this 86* following up the 52 he made against New Zealand and the 47 against Sri Lanka.

As we saw today, having Hales alongside Buttler makes England lethal, with both able to strike at such a high rate, the responsibility and pressure of hitting boundaries can be shared between the two.

We said in our preview that Hales’ knowledge of playing at Adelaide might be an advantage and so it proved.

He now has 435 T20 runs there, the 2nd most of any ground outside his home Trent Bridge. Averaging 48 and striking at 157.

He was above that today, his 86 coming at 183 with an incredible 7 sixes and 4 fours. India never looked like they had an answer to him. It was brutal.

Another man who continues to have fond memories of Adelaide is Adil Rashid. Following up a great performance against Sri Lanka, he was superb today. Going at just 5 an over and taking the crucial wicket of SKY.

Rashid bowled the last over of the powerplay and then directly after, his four overs stifling India as England squeezed them through the middle overs.

Rashid now has 18 wickets at the Adelaide Oval, the only ground he has more is his home one Headingley. He might have only taken 2 wickets so far for England in this tournament but he shown just how important he is to this side.


What if I told you that Jos Buttler was an anchor. It isn’t really how we think of him, and it really depends on how you define that role. But Buttler plays the anchor in that their team can rely on them scoring well above average of a T20 every innings. The fact that both of them can also score really fast is a bonus. But the main role of the anchor is to ensure few wickets are lost so that the rest of the team can bat they way they do. That’s exactly what Buttler has done.

If you look at the top run scorers since the beginning of 2017. Buttler is not the outlier in terms of strike rate or average.

Most runs in T20 since 2017.

He’s nowhere near Dre Russ, or Devon Conway, the two best outliers in terms of average and striking. And de Villiers was a better version of what Buttler did, and so that caught the eye more. Buttler’s key is the ability to be an above average player in terms of average and striking, and still have the fifth gear when required.

Going up the order and his penchant to nick off hasn’t been a big concern because he has managed it. And he gears up and down without every really wasting too many early balls when he is dismissed.

There are times when he opens as the main aggressor, and others where he plays for his partner, today was obviously that. As good as Buttler is, he is known for having a relatively low ego. Nasser Hussain always talks about the fact that Buttler doesn’t even seem to know how good he is.

England injuries

Injuries are obviously an inevitable part of sport, a team rarely escapes a tournament without at least one of their players ruled out.

As we saw again today though, over the last two T20 World Cups England seem to have been more affected than most.

Today Dawid Malan’s groin and Mark Wood’s hip extended the injury list across the last two tournaments to at least 9 players either ruled out of England’s squad before or during the competition.

England have been without Jofra Archer for both this World Cup and the last one. In 2021 they were missing:

Ben Stokes who was taking a break for mental health reasons.

They named Sam Curran in their squad then a back injury ruled him out.

Then Tymal Mills and Jason Roy went down during it with a thigh strain and a torn calf respectively.

This time around Jonny Bairstow destroyed his leg weeks before on the golf course (ban golf)

Reece Topley tripped on the boundary Toblerone before a warm up match and twisted his ankle – to be fair England were due the karmic response to Trent Boult stepping on the boundary in the World Cup final.

And then Malan and Wood complete the set.

It is worth noting England’s win/loss ratio in the cycle of those two World Cups, e.g. 2016 onwards. It sits at 1.4, significantly below India at 2.4 and Pakistan at 2.2.

And that is largely because despite being one of the better teams during that period, they have rotated and tinkered, trying out players to try and work out exactly who the best players were to pick.

Then it’s come to tournament time and they’ve seen basically a third of their team ruled out.

Although that did mean today that they ended up close to their original plan of batting all the way down to 11. Not that they really needed it.

India’s middle

From overs eight to 13, India scored at 5.6 runs an over. They were one wicket down coming into this period, and they lost two more. So it all makes sense. But that is a long period to be less than a run a ball.

It is almost unfair to compare the two, but do remember that England came into this part of the game with only one more wicket in hand than India. Though, a fair bit more forward momentum and also basic form.

This is a bit messy, but there are three lines here.

The dark blue is India all year in T20. We can see they make a big effort to try score fast at the top and then hold that throughout the middle without a huge drip before kicking at the death. The green is this tournament, you can see they have been slower in the powerplay, that might be them reacting to the conditions of what has been a seam bowling World Cup. But they’ve been good at scoring in the middle. And then kicked on at the death.

The orange line is today, and is obviously a bit more messy and it’s only one game. But they started slow as in the powerplay, then couldn’t continue that scoring rate after. And so even though they kicked on at the end, they had 6 overs at five or fewer in the first 13 overs. You can try catch up all you want, but that’s putting you so far behind.

This was also the period where Rashid bowled really well. You can’t tell what a pitch is going to do beforehand. Remember, this was a thrice used pitch, and yet it had better carry, was more even onto the bat and the ball didn’t die like what happened at the SCG. Slower balls were as easy to play as on pace. But the other weird thing was, the ball seemed to react more to the wrist spin than the finger spinners.

And if you look up the stats here, there’s no great way to tell that. Because they are completely warped by the fact Rashid Khan has 29 wickets at 16 last three years.

But England had two wrist spinners, India none, and that certainly played a part, even if it wasn’t the ultimate difference.

One thing I would say is that even Hardik Pandya played catch up today, but when he caught up, it was magnificent, but ultimately, three players playing that style - with two of them not going on to make up for it, cost India.

India's day

When it’s not your day, it’s not your day. And when you lose by 10 wickets it’s probably fair to say it’s not.

But it’s hard to state just to how big an extent this was REALLY not India’s day.

There were so many moments that perhaps the ICC will release a commemorative pack of Crictos NFTs to honour the occasion.

6.1 SR v run a ball this match

It started with Rohit Sharma’s innings. He struggled to ever get going, looking more and more visibly frustrated as time went on.

He was scoring at a run every two balls, never good, even worse in the powerplay. He hit back to back boundaries at one point and still could barely get above a run a ball.

It was fairly torturous and Jordan getting him out felt like a mercy kill. By then though he’d clogged up 28 balls – his contribution? 27 runs. Strike rate 96. Not exactly how you’d like to start your semi final.

Hardik Pandya might have been India’s star with the bat, but even he wasn’t totally immune from whatever was going through the Indian camp – managing to tread on his stumps off the last ball of the innings.

The best (or worst) though was saved for the fielding. Buttler scooped Hardik in the ninth over, it was picked up by Shami running round at backward square, so far so normal. Then he tried a relay throw but could only lob it miles over his teammate’s head. England RAN 4. That can’t have happened too many times in a T20.

The final kick in the teeth for India came when the game was already very much gone. England 150/0. Buttler skied Shami up in the air over mid off, SKY ran back to take what was a tough catch. He couldn’t hold on to it and as the ball rebounded off his hands it ran away to the boundary for four.

Six balls later England won the game. By 10 wickets. It really wasn’t India’s day.

You may have heard me use the term throwaway game a few times before. If this was a group stages game that is what you would do with this. The game went the wrong way, you lost, and it’s onto the next match. The problem for India is that four teams of basically the same quality of them have now made the final, and they haven’t. They came here with a new method, and then had to abandon it. But probably could have used it again at the end.

They were obviously two key injuries down, but the team they just got smacked in the face by one that had five starters out. They seem caught between two ways of thinking at the moment, and today, the road they decided to not travel smashed them everywhere.

England V Pakistan

I thought England and Pakistan were the two best teams in the previous World Cup, and I am pretty happy they have both got through tho the finals to make up for it. Finn Allen could have got on a roll against Shaheen and England could have lost a bunch of wickets to Bhuvi at the start of this match and they’d had been in the shit.

Also, in the last three World Cup finals we’ve had, there has been only one Asian team make it out of the six. The ICC doing a hell of a job on this nonsense conspiracy about having all India and Pakistan finals it would seem.

Or maybe it would have taken more than that to beat England today, but either way, it was good to see two of the better performing teams make the final after the knockouts of last time.

It’s an interesting match up, the strength of England is in their batting power and depth, and the strength of Pakistan is their ability to take wickets all the game through. I have always thought the best way to beat England was just to load up on wicket takers. But I suppose conversely, the best way to beat a team who takes lots of wickets is to have Adil Rashid batting at 11.

The biggest variable so far is that we have no idea what the MCG pitch will do. It hasn’t rained much in Melbourne for a week or so. So the curator will have that as an advantage. But it is supposed to rain between now and the game, and then again on the match day. And maybe even on the reserve day.

So if we add all this information up, early season, rain around in the last few days, and probably some will hit the pitch, I think we can expect a similar kind of surface to the England Ireland match, which Ireland won. Or the India Pakistan wicket, which India won on. England will have more experience on that kind of surface, but Pakistan has three proper batters in the top four, and the better seam attack. So you would think they would have the edge on that surface. Which is pretty funny, as those are basically English conditions.