After the full-fledged series against the West Indies and Pakistan, it is time for England to host perennial rivals and Ashes foes Australia in a series of white-ball internationals, which include three T20Is and as many One-day Internationals.
The caravan of the series will kickstart with the three-match Twenty20 Internationals, all of which will be played at the bio-secure Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
After having experimented with their squad in the recent white-ball series against Ireland and Pakistan, England are back to their full strength, with the likes of wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler and tearaway fast bowling duo of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood coming back to the set-up after having sat out of the last two series.
England will be hoping to shrug off the five-run defeat that they suffered at the hands of Pakistan in the last game at Old Trafford. One of the things that plagued the home side in the recently concluded series against Pakistan was the lack of potency with the ball in both the fast bowling and spin-bowling department, something they’ll hope isn’t the case with the likes of Archer and Wood back into the set-up.
This series will be another chance for the likes of Tom Banton, Sam Billings, and Dawid Malan to further their case for a permanent spot in the T20 line-up as England looks to build towards the next T20 World Cup.
No.1 ranked Australia expected to give a stiff challenge to Eoin Morgan’s England
But, it wouldn’t be an easy ride for sure, considering they will be up against a full-strength Australian side, which currently holds the No.1 spot in the World T20I rankings. The Aaron Finch-led Australia was in the midst of a brilliant run in the T20I format of the game before the pandemic put a halt to the proceedings around the world courtesy impressive series wins against Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and South Africa respectively.
The tourists warmed up with back-to-back intra-squad games, which saw their batsman rack up huge runs. While Marnus Labuschagne pushed his case for a T20I debut with a whirlwind 51-ball 101, Alex Carey reminded everyone why he is Australia’s first-choice keeper in white-ball cricket, with a whirlwind ton [107 off 60 balls] against the likes of Pat Cummins, Adam Zampa and Sean Abbott.
It will be interesting to see the make-up of the Australian side in the first T20I. David Warner, Aaron Finch, and Steven Smith are locked in as the top-3 while Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis should assume the role of the two all-rounders. With Alex Carey warming up with a hundred and top-3 relatively fixed, Josh Phillipe might have to wait for his chance in the T20I set-up. It will also be interesting to see which seamer partners the likes of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, with the likes of Josh Hazlewood, Daniel Sams, Andrew Tye, Riley Meredith, Sean Abbott, all vying for the spot currently held by Kane Richardson.
England vs Australia 2020, 1st T20I, Southampton- Match Prediction
With two power-packed teams going against each other, it is pretty difficult to single out the favorites. But considering the fact that England have had better match practice thanks to their recent series against Ireland and Pakistan and with Australia coming off an extended break due to Covid-19, we back England to be marginal favorites against the No.1 ranked T20I side in the world.