Morgan, Moeen lead England to a nerve-wracking win
England 182-5 (Morgan 74) beat
Australia 177-8 (Smith 90) by five runs
Twenty20 International, Cardiff
Eoin Morgan and Moeen Ali starred with bat as England pulled a five-run victory from the jaws of defeat in the one-off Twenty20 International against Australia in Cardiff despite Steven Smith’s heroics.
Australia won the toss and opted to bowl first. Pat Cummins (2-25) bowled a terrific double-wicket over conceding just a run in the fourth.
First he castled the stumps of Alex Hales (3) and then had Jason Roy (11) mistiming a hit to mid-off to reduce England to 18 for two. England reached 27 for two by the end of the power-play.
However, England wrested back the advantage as skipper Morgan (74) added 135 for the third wicket with Moeen (72 not out) who came in at number three in place of Joe Root who has been rested.
England reached 62 for two after 10 overs. Morgan started the second half with a four and a six off consecutive balls from Mitchell Marsh (0-21) taking him ahead of Kevin Pietersen as England’s leading run-scorer in T20Is.
England got a big 19-run over when Moeen hammered Cameron Boyce (0-19) for two sixes and a four in consecutive deliveries reaching fifty in just 31 balls.
In the next over Morgan got to his fifty in 32 balls and managed a bigger over off Shane Watson (0-33) scoring 22 including three sixes.
England reached 136 for two after 15 overs and managed 46 in the next five.
They were on target for more as Morgan hit two consecutive monstrous sixes off Cummins taking England to 152 for two after 16 overs.
However, Nathan Coulter-Nile (1-24) had Morgan caught at long on in a five-run over.
England managed 30 in the last four overs losing three wickets, reaching 182 for five after 20 overs.
Australia’s chase was almost a mirror image of the England’s innings with their skipper leading the way.
David Willey (2-34) got David Warner (4) in the first over when he mistimed a pull to third man.
Shane Watson (8) dragged one back onto his stumps, missing with an attempt to kick the ball away, in an unfortunate dismissal.
Glenn Maxwell (44) and Smith (90) got going with multiple fours taking Australia to 45 for two after six overs.
Maxwell hammered three fours in the seventh off Reece Topley (1-35) and Australia were on target at 86 for two after 10 overs.
Smith brought up his half-century off 30 balls with a four off Adil Rashid (0-32) drilled down the ground.
Maxwell missed his though, when Ben Stokes (1-29) took a terrific catch diving to his right at long-on off Moeen’s (1-3) bowling, ending Maxwell’s knock and breaking the 112-run partnership.
Australia were on 127 for three, needing 56 off 36 balls. Smith, closing in on a century took Australia close when they were on 155 for three after 17 overs needing just 28 off 18 balls.
However, Marsh (13) missed a slower delivery from Topley and lost his stumps as Australia went into the last two overs needing 20 runs.
Willey got the big wicket of Smith, who had a strike rate of nearly 170, but mistimed one to deep mid-wicket.
Needing 12 runs to win off the last over, Australia’s lower order capitulated as they lost three wickets and managed just six runs ending on 177 for eight, five short of the England score as Stokes held his nerve with the ball and with Morgan, effected two run outs.
Moeen was adjudicated the player of the match as England’s dominance over Australia continued having already sealed a 3-2 Ashes success.
The first One-Day International in a five-match series is in Southampton on Thursday 3rd September.
© Cricket World 2015