England will meet Australia in the final of the Carlton Mid ODI Tri-Series on Sunday after scraping past India by three wickets at the WACA.
Eoin Morgan’s side were set 201 to win in Perth after dismissing India, who folded once Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan’s opening stand of 83 ended, in 48.1 overs.
But England made hard work of their run chase and were indebted to James Taylor (82) and Jos Buttler’s (67) 125-run partnership for securing victory with 19 balls to spare after they had slipped to 66-5.
England will now tackle the previously-qualified Baggy Greens in this weekend’s showpiece game, also at the WACA, before the sides meet again in their first World Cup encounter on February 14.
Morgan won the toss on Friday morning and had no hesitation in putting India in to bat, perhaps with the idea of getting stuck into Dhawan, who had procured just 11 runs from his first three Tri-Series knock.
But the 29-year-old, and opening partner Rahane, were the standout performers in an otherwise limp innings from India, collecting almost half of the side’s runs during their 20.1 overs together.
Dhawan, who looked understandably jittery early on, fired four boundaries in his knock but when he feathered Chris Woakes behind to Buttler, Rahane was given little support from elsewhere.
Virat Kohli (eight) and Suresh Raina (one) were snaffled by Moeen Ali, while Ambati Rayudu (12) handed Stuart Broad his first wicket of the Tri-Series when he top-edged to Buttler.
Rahane fell 27 runs short of a ton after becoming the next player to clip into Buttler’s gloves and when a further four wickets fell, including that of MS Dhoni who was trapped lbw by a pearler from James Anderson, India had lost nine players for just 82 runs.
Mohammed Shami (25 from 18 balls), though, clobbered three fours and a six en route to putting on a 35-run stand for the 10th wicket with Mohit Sharma, and 201 looked a long way off for England when they were five down in the 20th over.
In-form Ian Bell (10) was caught by a stonking lbw ball from Sharma before Moeen (17) hit spinner Axar Patel tamely to long-off, and Joe Root (three) chipped back to medium pacer Stuart Binny (three).
Binny soon had a three-for, with Morgan (two) clipping to Dhawan at mid-on and Ravi Bopara (four) picking out Ravindra Jadeja at point with a chest-high dolly.
Taylor was holding England’s innings together at this stage and found an ally in Buttler, who scored 71 off 43 balls in his previous one-day international at the WACA in January last year.
Taylor and Buttler scampered expertly between the wickets and also found intermittent boundaries but neither were there at the end after being pouched at fine leg and deep point respectively.
However, Woakes and Broad, the latter who was peppered by some cracking short stuff from Shami, guided England over the line and into another clash with their biggest rivals.
Watch England face Australia in the final of the Carlton Mid Series, live on Sky Sports 2 HD from 3:20am on Sunday 1 February