England vs Australia 2nd T20I Preview: Embarrassed Aussies likely to come hard
As David Warner pointed out after the series opener, the Australian middle-order needs to be a little more sensible with their boundary options.
Venue - The Ageas Bowl, Southampton
Start time - 1:15 PM GMT/2:15 PM LOCAL
Head to Head record in T20Is - England: 10 Australia: 6 No Result: 1
Weather - Partly cloudy, 9-19°C, Precipitation: 10%, Humidity: 69%, Wind: 11 km/h
If there was ever an acceptable excuse to be 98 for no loss in the 11th over chasing 163 and not go on to win the match, it has to be of the order of a pandemic and so, one must not go too hard at Australia for throwing away the match when it was there for the taking.
While most of the England players have had decent practice either through red-ball or white-ball cricket, Australia were always going to find it a bit too hard to adjust to the game intensity no matter how many practice games they played among themselves. Despite that, the credit goes to the visitors to find themselves in the winning position in the first place.
Ashton Agar and Kane Richardson were good with the ball for Australia in the 1st T20I but the real surprise package came from Glenn Maxwell who gave away just 14 runs from his three overs while picking up two crucial wickets of Eoin Morgan and Moeen Ali.
Australia need to be a bit more sensible
With a 98-run opening partnership between David Warner and Aaron Finch and just 65 runs required to go 1-0 up in the series when the opening duo separated, Australia should have easily won the game. However, both Steven Smith and Glenn Maxwell went for the glory shots and perished.
The inexperienced Australian middle-order was exposed and not only did the batters panic but there was some sensational bowling from Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and Adil Rashid and then from Tom Curran and Chris Jordan to finish off the match.
A sticky affair
The new ball came quite nicely onto the bat at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton or the quality of the batters on both sides made it look so. When the ball got a bit older, you got the impression that it stuck in the surface and run-scoring became difficult. This is the reason why neither England nor Australia had a flourish to end their innings.
New ball crucial
The new ball then becomes all the more important as both teams will try to cash-in in the powerplay - a modus operandi more suited to England than Australia, who's openers try to set the base and then go hard.
As David Warner pointed out after the series opener, the Australian middle-order needs to be a little more sensible in finding their boundary options and focus on pinching singles and doubles while trying to maneuver the field to increase their run rate. Going for the big heave-hos seldom pays dividends in the middle overs.
Secondly, one of Warner or Finch have to bat till the end, given that there is some inexperience in the Australian middle-order.
England a well-oiled machine
England have little reason to make any changes to their playing XI with most of their players making good contributions in their 2-run victory in the 1st T20I. The decision to promote Jos Buttler to open alongside Jonny Bairstow has been bearing fruit and Morgan and co will stick with it.
Dawid Malan has been a revelation for England with the consistency and the strike rate at which he has batted. Jofra Archer and Mark Wood bowled some serious heat to begin with while Tom curran and Chris Jordan finished off the match beautifully. Adil Rashid also deserves a lot of credit for knocking over both Smith and Maxwell who could have won the game easily.
Australia might back their choices
For Australia, Mitchell Starc was not at his best with the ball and gave away runs at 10 RPO, without picking up a wicket. Adam Zampa was also quite expensive. While Australia may try out Riley Meredith in place of Starc, Zampa will keep his place.
In the batting line-up, Marcus Stoinis was slow to get off the blocks and failed to finish the game. Daniel Sams is another all-round option that Australia possess, apart from Mitchell Marsh, but Stoinis can get another chance.
Here's a look at the probable playing XI of both teams:
England - Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (wk), Dawid Malan, Tom Banton, Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Chris Jordan, Tom Curran, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood, Adil Rashid
Australia - Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey (wk), Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa
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