England gives old rival Australia 8-wicket thrashing at WCup

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Jos Buttler was near his brutal best as England thrashed old rival Australia by eight wickets with 50 balls to spare at the cricket T20 World Cup on Saturday.

Buttler smashed 71 not out from 32 balls with five thumping sixes as England’s batters quickly finished off what its bowlers had started by knocking the Aussies over for 125.

Openers Buttler and Jason Roy put on a rapid 66 to start England’s chase. Jonny Bairstow was with Buttler to finish it off, and also didn’t hang around by launching two sixes in his 16 not out from 11 balls.

England’s bowlers, with Chris Jordan leading with 3-17, tore through Australia at the start, with the Australians slumping to 21-4 in 6.1 overs. Australia rallied to see out its full 20 overs, but only just with Mitchell Starc the last man out off the final ball of the innings.

The result put England top of Group 1 outright and underlined its status as one of the favorites for the title, having lost the final of the last T20 World Cup in 2016 to West Indies.

Australia, which belied its shaky recent form by winning its opening two games, is tied with South Africa for second place in Group 1 but behind the South Africans on run rate after Saturday’s hammering by England.

The top two from the group will reach the semifinals.

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