For the seventh consecutive time Jos Butler won the toss, and chose to bat, with a good opening partnership of 82 the foundations were there for a decent score, then both openers fell in the space of 26 runs. Enter Root & Stokes the latter could possibly be playing his last white ball game for England dispatched the ball to all parts with Root back to playing his normal game the pair added 132 before Stokes was bowled trying to smash another out the ground. He was quickly followed by Root. Butler looked set for a score before an excellent throw by Rauf, he was run out a yard short of the crease. Brook was playing his usual game before he was out they were the main contributors but you feel we left a few runs out there?
England went about their business by sending both openers back to the dressing room before they had a chance to look around and admire the majestic Eden Gardens known as the Lords of India. England regularly took wickets before a 53-run partnership for the 10th wicket, winning by 93 runs. Repercussions will start. Between Butler, Mott & Keys as to why England performed so badly as they start to plan for the next T20 World Cup which is scheduled for West Indies/USA next June and the ODI series in South Africa, Zimbabwe & Namibia in 2027.
The previous morning, we had a sightseeing trip visiting the flower market which was extremely crowded and busy with Diwali starting on the Sunday! After we had a short walk to Howrah Bridge, Victoria Memorial Hall (a memorial to Queen Victoria) and the Indian museum. Dipin & I dipped out of the museum and walked along the pavement where there is a market looking for a Chai,
We eventually decided to try the YMCA and they took us to a room which had English paintings on the wall and chandeliers. It was very regal, but that’s where is stopped…. there were several well-worn sofas although comfortable, our chai arrived in a stainless steel pot with cup & saucer, a great experience that cost 400 rupees (40p).
As our game with Pakistan was originally planned for Sunday but due to rescheduling by the BCCI it was was switched to Saturday, which had an effect on our trip as some of the places we were going to visit were closed because of Diwali on Sunday. A few of us went into town expecting a party like atmosphere with bands & fireworks but it was nothing like we expected so we were back in the hotel about an hour after we left.
We left Kolkata for Mumbai for the first semifinal. We arrived at our hotel to find Indian cricket team were staying there. I was dreading that as I expected it to be rammed with locals looking for a selfie with their heroes and sure enough as we returned from dinner there was a player at reception who was completely surrounded so much so I couldn’t get a glimpse of him.
That morning we had two tours, one a city tour the other Elephanta Island which I chose to go on. Similar to what we have seen in Aurangabad but not as impressive. On the water there were a lot of boats going in both directions, smog was so bad visibility was only about 100 yards. When we reached land just by India gateway there were people everywhere. So much so you could not move amongst the little stalls set up for gifts and food. I have no idea how the locals eat at these outlets, hygiene is not visible, yet they do a roaring trade! You can understand why so many people feel unwell on tour, yet we stay and eat in the best hotel’s & restaurants!
On Wednesday we made our way to the ground early knowing there was going to be a sea of bright blue shirts everywhere. Most of us were rooting for NZ who did put up some resistance but as soon as Williamson holed out it was inevitable that India would be the first team in the final!
The following morning, we were picked up from our hotels at 4:00am for our transfer to the airport, luckily it was on time. Most probably had a snooze, as we only had an hour or so night’s sleep the previous evening because of the first semifinal! So it was straight to our hotels for check in and then we went to Eden Gardens for the second semi, which was a low scoring game but definitely the closest we have witnessed. It was exciting even though it was slow! The game went Australia’s way and beat South Africa thereby meeting India in Sunday’s final in Ahmedabad.