Cricket-Buttler defends toss decision after England's title defence evaporates

ICC T20 World Cup 2024 - Group B - Australia v England

(Reuters) - England's title defence at the T20 World Cup wilted following a 68-run hammering in the second semi-final but skipper Jos Buttler would not blame it on his decision to field against India on Thursday.

After rain and a wet outfield delayed the start of the match, Buttler elected to field after winning the toss, probably more comfortable chasing a target than setting one, especially with the prospect of more rain at the Providence Stadium in Guyana.

His decision pleased his counterpart Rohit Sharma, who led with the only half-century of the match as India posted a strong 171-7 on a slow surface where batting got trickier as the match wore on.

"With the rain around, we didn't think the conditions would change and they didn't - they just outplayed us and got a very good score," Buttler said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

"I don't think the toss was the difference between us."

The opener felt they conceded 20-25 extra runs on a challenging surface, which eventually allowed India to dictate terms.

A top-order meltdown left England reeling at 49-5, and they capitulated before the Indian spin duo of Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav, who claimed three wickets apiece.

Considering the support spinners had from the track, Buttler said he probably should have bowled off-spinner Moeen Ali too.

"Our two (spinners) bowled well but in hindsight, probably should have bowled Moeen in our innings with the way spin was playing.

"But with a good score and their brilliant bowling attack it was always going to be a tough chase."

India captain Rohit was pleased how his side altered their batting approach according to the nature of the pitch.

"I thought we adapted to the conditions," Rohit said.

"They were really challenging. If we play according to the conditions, things fall into place.

"At one stage we felt 140 or 150 would be competitive. Then we said 25 runs more."

"I can set a target in my mind, but I don't want to let anyone know it, because all of our batters are instinctive players and I want them to play freely."

"I thought 170 was a very good score and the bowlers were fantastic."

India will play South Africa in Saturday's final in Bridgetown, in a clash between the tournament's two unbeaten sides.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Hugh Lawson)