Southampton: The first IT20 between England and Australia ended in a last-ball thriller when Tom Curran’s yorker denied Stoinis a six to seal the game for the visitors. England won by 2 runs in the end.
Buttler and Bairstow opened the innings after the Aussies decided to bowl first and the former was in no mood to defend. Buttler scored 16 runs in only the second over which was bowled by Agar and smashed him for two sixes over mid-on and mid-off respectively. The Aussies finally got a breakthrough when Cummins bowled a ripper to dismiss Bairstow who was caught at a strategically placed deep slip. Malan and Buttler carried on for a while with the same run rate untill Buttler’s half-hearted shot against Agar reached only till the fielder at cow corner.
Banton, Ali and an in-form Morgan threw their wickets cheaply to the spinners while Malan on the other end was timing everything to perfection and never slowed himself down because of the wickets falling at the other end. He reached his 7th fifty in just 14 matches and ended his innings at 66. An expensive eighteenth over from Zampa boosted England’s confidence as they managed to set a target of 162 for Australia.
Trivia : Malan has more 50+ scores than any other England batsman since the 2016 T20 World Cup. (8)
Australia almost got their bowling selection right in this game to restrict England on a batting surface here at the Ageas Bowl. Richardson was economical, bowled at 70-80 miles/hr and kept the length back to make it tough for England. The two spinners Maxwell and Agar picked up two each to dismiss the middle-order for not much.
Both, Warner and Finch got off to a flier. They played shots all over the ground in the first 6 to Archer and Curran. The openers set up a platform for their team and an easy win was on the cards. 98 runs later the partnership was ended by Archer to get Finch. Smith came in at three and played a few aggressive strokes untill he top-edged one to deep square leg.
At this point, the Aussies needed 39 off 35 deliveries. A late burst put England back in the driver’s seat after they managed to send Maxwell, Carey and Warner back to the pavillion and suddenly England looked like they were favourites to win the match.Continuous pressure building from the bowling side and loss of wickets took the game down the wire and finally 15 runs were required off the last over which was bowled by Tom Curran. He defends it even after the first ball was smoked for six by Stoinis. Two very good yorkers in the end helped England to win the match.
England lost a cluster of wickets in the innings but because of the brand of cricket that Morgan promotes they never tried to be defensive and that was something that Malan did really well and it paid off eventually. Australia slipped under pressure while chasing a relatively easy target but considering that it’s their first match since March we can cut them some slack.
Man of the match: Dawid Malan
Thanks for reading. The next one will be posted soon!