Oh! Australia, what were you thinking? This is the question that would be in the minds of every Aussie fan that watched their side hand the game on a silver platter to Ashes foes England after having dominated it for almost 34 overs.
Chasing 163 to win, Australia, thanks to their opening duo of David Warner and skipper Aaron Finch, had got off to a blistering start. With 98 runs already on the board and nine wickets still in hand after the dismissal of Finch, the game looked as good as over, especially after Steven Smith announced himself on the crease with back-to-back disdainful pull strokes.
Smith and Warner were going nicely at 1-124 when tragedy struck in the 14th over when the former Aussie skipper top-edged one-off Adil Rashid. Smith’s dismissal was a start of collapse that saw the Aussies lose their next four wickets for a mere 9 runs in the next 14 deliveries.
Eoin Morgan’s brilliant tactics once again expose Australia’s middle-over issues
In a way, the two-run defeat in the first game for another wake-up call for the No.1 ranked T20I side in the world as their misfiring middle-order once again proved why they are still a work in progress as a white-ball team. Glenn Maxwell once again failed to finish the game, as did Alex Carey and Marcus Stoinis, who looked like a rusty gate during the course of his 18-ball 23.
That said, credit should also be given to England skipper Eoin Morgan for the manner in which he plotted his team’s comeback. After Smith and Maxwell’s dismissal in the 14th over, Morgan decided to attack the Australian middle-order with the precocious pace of Mark Wood and Jofra Archer, and in the end, it really proved to be a masterstroke as the Aussies lost crucial wickets of David Warner and Alex Carey.
England will, however, realize that it was a jailbreak for them in the first game and that shouldn’t come in way with the fact that they were lackluster with the ball for a major part of the Australian innings and their batting- barring Jos Buttler and Dawid Malan- too wasn’t upto scratch- something they will be looking to improve on in the next T20I.
England vs Australia 2020, 2nd T20I, Southampton: Match Prediction
Considering the manner in which the Aussies went down in the last game, the Aaron Finch-led unit will be itching to right the wrongs of the first T20I and enforce a decider in the three-match series when they lock horns with Eoin Morgan’s England on Sunday. Backing Australia to win the second T20I.