England eked out an epic and improbable victory by two runs in the first T20 international against Australia on Friday in Southampton. England posted a total of 162, which was every bit competitive if not a formidable one. It was Dawid Malan’s knock of 66 that proved pivotal in the home side’s lifting themselves to 162 followed by the bowlers, who made critical strikes at crucial junctures.
Despite a triumph that secured an early series lead for them, the Englishmen have a scope of improvement in all the departments. They squandered a bright start provided by Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow as the middle-order gifted wickets away. Their bowling in the powerplay and middle overs were questionable too while there was a fielding lapse from Tom Banton. Hence, to level the series, England must sort those out.
We take a look at England’s predicted XI for the second T20 international:
Jonny Bairstow was the first batsman to depart for eight as a delivery from Pat Cummins generated extra bounce for the short third-man to catch it. His brief innings included only one boundary. However, it would not deny the fact that Bairstow has given England some very bright starts throughout the summer.
The Yorkshire batsman also took the critical catch of Steve Smith while defending 162. Hence, Jonny Bairstow will retain his place for the second T20 international and the series as well.
Jos Buttler (wk):
Jos Buttler was the flag-bearer on Friday, mainly going after Ashton Agar’s left-arm spin. Jos Buttler smashed two sixes and a four in the second over of the innings bowled by Agar to take 16 in that. The 29-year old followed his outstanding Test series against Pakistan by striking 44 off 29 deliveries.
Buttler’s knock contained five fours and two towering maximums, both off Agar. However, it was the left-arm spinner that plucked his wicket when he holed a short ball to mid-wicket. The Somerset batsman would be looking forward to converting his bright beginning to a substantial one.
Man of the match from the first T20 international Dawid Malan’s measured and level-headed knock of 66 held England’s innings together. The southpaw hammered Adam Zampa for 21 runs in the 18th over that pushed England near the 150-mark.
Dawid Malan’s innings of 66 from 43 deliveries included five fours and three sixes and Buttler’s 44 was behind him. Malan’s knock was very crucial in eking out a win and would be aiming towards continuing the run.
Sam Billings could be the one to replace Tom Banton for the second T20 international after the latter made only eight. Sam Billings has proved his credentials in ODIs this summer and performed reasonably well against Pakistan too.
On the other hand, Banton has remained amongst the runs only while batting at the top. Hence, the hosts could consider handing Billings a crack in the middle-order or move Banton up the order for a change.
Eoin Morgan (c):
While Eoin Morgan got off the mark for a glorious boundary, he looked fidgety at the crease on Friday. On the very second ball, the English skipper miscued a pull, which was not very far from the fielder. Morgan lost his wicket to Maxwell as he danced down the track to hit an inside outshot.
Steve Smith came running in from mid-on to make a challenging catch to make it easy. Hence, the southpaw as the captain of the side, he shall be looking towards batting more responsibly.
Despite a flop show with the bat and bowling one over without impact, Moeen Ali seems he would retain his place for the second T20I. Moeen Ali hinted a return to form after striking 61 off 34 deliveries in the third T20I against Pakistan.
However, on Friday, the left-hander’s reverse sweep off Glenn Maxwell off-spin gave an easy take for Adam Zampa, perishing for 2. With the ball, he bowled only one over for nine runs without a wicket; hence, the hosts would demand from him.
Tom Curran was perhaps the hero of England’s win on Friday as he defended 15 runs off the final over. Tom Curran also hung in with Dawid Malan as the duo shared a precious stand of 23 runs that played a vital role in lifting them for 162.
With the ball, Curran did not take any wicket in his four overs; however, he kept his cool after Marcus Stoinis slammed a six in the second delivery of the final over. The right-arm seamer managed to nail one at the blockhole to close out the game without any hiccups. He finished with figures of 4-0-33-0.
Chris Jordan contributed 14 off eight balls with the bat, smacking a last-ball boundary to take England past 162. On the field, Chris Jordan timed his leap to perfection to dismiss Aaron Finch, who was the first batsman to depart.
The right-arm seamer affected a run-out in the penultimate over of Ashton Agar and gave away only four runs through his variations. Hence, it played a massive role in giving Tom Curran ample to defend in the final over. Thus, Jordan should also retain his spot. Jordan finished with figures of 3-0-23-0.
Adil Rashid took two key wickets of Glenn Maxwell and Steve Smith to hand England a massive advantage moving forward. While Adil Rashid went through a toking at the hands of Aaron Finch, his figures looking better after bagging a couple of wickets.
The leggie would also likely retain his spot; however, he would be looking to deliver more wickets in the middle overs. The 32-year old had figures of 4-0-29-2.
Jofra Archer played his first game in the coloured clothing since the 2019 World Cup final. While Jofra Archer did not have a very fruitful Test series, the right-arm speedster put the tourists under trouble through his variations.
He plucked the wicket of Aaron Finch in the 11th over and took the wicket of Warner in the 16th. The scalp of Warner, who scored 58, put the tourists entirely in the backfoot. The 25-year old would be looking to take more in the powerplay. The 25-year old finished with figures of 4-0-33-2.
Mark Wood shared the new ball with Jofra Archer and went wicketless in the powerplay and it was not until the 17th over that he got his first. It was Australia’s keeper-batsman Alex Carey that became the victim of Mark Wood’s raw pace.
Carey got caught at the crease as Mark Wood hit the stumps to hand the hosts a massive advantage. Hence, the Durham pacer will also retain his spot for the second game. Wood finished with figures of 4-0-31-1.