The T20 World Cup final will be shown live on free-to-air TV on Sunday after Sky agreed to share rights to the game with Channel 4 – as it did when England reached the final of the 50-over World Cup in 2019 – following England’s freewheeling 10-wicket victory over India in Adelaide.
“It’s fantastic for the game in our country,” the England captain, Jos Buttler, said after his 49-ball 80, and unbroken 170-run opening partnership with Alex Hales, set up a decider against Pakistan in Melbourne.
“As many eyes as we can get on that final would be great. It’s brilliant. It’s important that we always look to grow our game and showcase cricket, to the next generation especially. We really welcome that.”
His predecessor as England’s white-ball captain, Eoin Morgan, described their performance as “mind-blowingly good”.
Though much of the attention will go to the openers given the way they powered the side to victory with four overs to spare, Buttler was keen to praise the performance of his bowlers – without the injured Mark Wood, and with Chris Jordan playing for the first time in the tournament.
“They were outstanding,” he said. “Adil Rashid had his best day for a while – he bowled with great control, he looked like taking a wicket every over and he obviously got the big wicket of Suryakumar Yadav. And special mention to Chris Jordan, to come into such a high-pressure game, that’s a hell of a performance. It may have looked like he’s gone at 10 an over, but he’s probably performed above the level of what is expected at the death there. That’s an immense effort.”
By contrast Rohit Sharma, India’s captain, was withering in his assessment of his team’s performance with the ball. “I thought we batted pretty well at the back end but we were not good enough with the ball,” he said.
“With the ball we didn’t turn up. When it comes to the knockout stages it’s all about handling the pressure, and you can’t teach anyone to handle pressure. If we keep it tight and the batsmen still score runs, we’ll take it. But we didn’t do that today.”
After a series of unconvincing performances in the group stage England head to the final high on confidence after one of their greatest displays in the format. “We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves and pat ourselves too much on the back,” Buttler warned.
“We’re obviously into a final which we’re really looking forward to. We enjoyed the game, and we can talk about it in the changing room and enjoy the performance, but I don’t want us to get too far ahead of ourselves. We come up against a Pakistan team in real form, and that’s going to be such an amazing occasion, one we’ll go and enjoy as much as we can and express ourselves and try and show off our talent.”
Rahul Dravid, the India coach, admitted his side had been “outplayed and outclassed”. He said: “The key to the game obviously was to try and break that opening partnership as early as we could.
“We tried to attack a little bit with our lengths up front, we thought that was a tactic, but they played that really well. Buttler and Hales, I thought their partnership was fantastic – they just put the pressure on us and never let that go.”