England First To World Cup Semis

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

Reigning champions England gave rise to the biblical principle that the last will be first and the first will be last when they became the first team to qualify for the semi-finals of the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup.

The English were facing elimination during the group stage earlier this month, and defeat against South Africa in their first Super Eight contest this past Friday in St Lucia put them under pressure, but they crushed the United States by 10 wickets today in Barbados to power into the final four.

Chris Jordan became the second bowler to take a hat-trick in the tournament, and England dismissed the Americans for 115 in 18.5 overs after they were put in to bat in their final Group 2 match at Kensington Oval.

England captain Jos Buttler then hit a whirlwind, unbeaten 83 from 38 balls that included six fours and seven sixes and fellow opener Phil Salt was not out on 25, and the English chased their target in only 9.4 overs and will progress to the next stage because of a significant boost to their net run-rate.

Buttler and Salt took a couple of overs to find their range before they started to fully express themselves, and England were 60 without loss at the end of the Power Play.

The brutal assault from Buttler continued, and he smashed a six off Harmeet Singh over long-off to bring up his 50 – his first of the tournament – off 32 balls and he followed up with four more sixes that hasten England to the finish line.

The result also meant that the match between West Indies and South Africa tonight at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in Antigua will be a decider for the second team from Group 2 that will advance into the semi-finals.

Earlier, Jordan, 35, ended with four for 10 from 2.5 overs, all four wickets coming in the same over, including the hat-trick.

“An unbelievable feeling,” Jordan said. “More importantly, to restrict them with what I thought was a solid fielding performance. But to do it in a special place like this is always nice.”

It was the third hat-trick of this World Cup after Australia fast bowler Pat Cummins achieved the feat against Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

Jordan, the only change to the England line-up for the match, replacing fellow pacer Mark Wood, got former New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson caught at long-on for 29 to start the penultimate over of the United States innings.

He then struck with the third, fourth and fifth ball of the over when he bowled Ali Khan, trapped Nosthush Kenjige lbw, and bowled Saurabh Netravalkar – all for ducks – to bring the American innings to a feeble end.

It was the ninth hat-trick in a T20 World Cup, and Jordan became the first English bowler to record the feat in the history of the tournament.

Leg-spinner Adil Rashid supported with two for 13 from his allotted four overs, including the scalp of former Barbados Pride batsman Aaron Jones bowled for 10, left-arm pacer Sam Curran grabbed two for 23 from two overs, and Barbados-born fast bowler Jofra Archer bowled a tidy spell of 3-0-16-0.

Nitish Kumar, batting at three, hit the top score of 30 for the United States, Anderson made 29, and Harmeet Singh got 21.

ICC Photo