Hosts England started off their ODI series against Australia on a winning note, courtesy an all-round performance by Moeen Ali.
Despite restricting Australia to just 214, it wasn’t a walk in the park for the hosts. They eventually huffed and puffed towards the victory target on the final delivery of the 44th over. Moeen bagged the Man of the Match Award courtesy a superb spell of bowling where he scalped three wickets for just 43 runs.
It was Australian skipper Tim Paine who won the toss and opted to bat. Aaron Finch and Travis Head opened the innings for the Aussies. It was David Willey who provided the first breakthrough for England with the wicket of Head. Aaron Finch scored 19 off 24 deliveries before departing to Moeen Ali.
Australia kept losing wickets at quite regular intervals which never really allowed them to press on the accelerator.
Finch’s wicket was followed by the dismissal of Shaun Marsh who scored 24 off 30 deliveries. The hosts kept chipping away with the wickets and were in firm control of the match. However, it was an impressive partnership between Glenn Maxwell and Ashton Agar.
Maxwell came back to form with an impressive knock. He didn’t go with the big shots from the word go but managed to find the big shots whenever required. He scored a fluent half-century and eventually got dismissed on 62 off 64 deliveries. His innings studded with four fours and a couple of sixes. Agar, on the other hand, scored 40 off 62 deliveries and shared an 84-run stand with Maxwell.
It was Liam Plunkett who bagged the prized wicket of Maxwell which again put Australia on the backfoot. Plunkett also bagged three wickets while Moeen was the pick of the English bowlers. Adil Rashid also finished with a couple of wickets conceding just 36 runs. It was in the 47th over when Australia was skittled out.
Australia needed to get wickets from the word go to keep their hopes alive, and Billy Stanlake provided the visitors with an early wicket in the form of Jason Roy.
The ball came back sharply and disturbed his timbers. Alex Hales also fell in quick succession, as England were reduced to 23/2 in the 4th over. Opener Jonny Bairstow couldn’t quite carry on from his start and got dismissed on 28. England was in early trouble after getting reduced to 38/3.
From there on, it was a solid 115-run partnership between skipper Eoin Morgan and Test skipper Joe Root which again got England back on track. Both played some terrific shots and kept the scoreboard ticking. It was Morgan who was the attacker between the two in the innings. The southpaw’s innings of 69 came in 74 deliveries which studded with 11 hits to the fence.
Morgan got dismissed after making 69. However, by then, England was quite close to the victory. From there on, it was a mini-collapse of sorts for England.
From 153/3, the hosts got reduced to 163/6. It was some good bowling by Australia, and both Morgan and Root headed back to the pavilion.
Towards the end, it was some terrific strokeplay by David Willey which got the job done for England. The southpaw remained unbeaten on 35 off 41 deliveries, as England chased the total down with six overs left.
Australia 214 all-out in 47 overs (Glenn Maxwell 62, Ashton Agar 40, Liam Plunkett 3/42, Moeen Ali 43)
England 218/7 in 44 overs (Eoin Morgan 69, Joe Root 50, Andrew Tye 2/42, Billy Stanlake 2/44)
England won by three wickets (with six overs to spare)