T20 World Cup: England are a dominant team, admits Australian captain Finch

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England's Jos Buttler hit a 32-ball 71 against Australia at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Saturday. (AFP)
England's Jos Buttler hit a 32-ball 71 against Australia at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Saturday. (AFP)

Dubai - England outplayed Australia in the Super 12 clash in Dubai on Saturday


Rituraj Borkakoty

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Published: Sat 30 Oct 2021, 11:27 PM

Last updated: Sat 30 Oct 2021, 11:44 PM

The thirst of England supporters that have longed for a world-class football team has somewhat been quenched by the Three Lions’ stirring run in the two most recent global events – the 2018 World Cup (semifinals) and the Euro 2020 (runners-up). But it’s their cricket players, the poor cousins of the country’s footballers, that have begun to dominate their sport in the white-ball formats.

Having started the T20 World Cup with comprehensive wins over the West Indies and Bangladesh, the reigning ODI champions knocked the stuffing out of old rivals Australia at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Saturday.

Eoin Morgan’s team dismantled Aaron Finch’s men with such ruthlessness that it would be hard to imagine any team in this tournament putting up a fight against the world’s top-ranked T20I side.

It’s hard to predict a winner in this format, but England’s emphatic eight-wicket win over Australia raised their hopes of becoming the first team to hold the ODI and T20 World Cup trophies at the same time.

The grass on the Dubai wicket was exploited brilliantly by the England bowlers as their pacers found swing and seam movement and their spinners showed great control to restrict Australia to 125 all out after Morgan had won the toss.

Then Jos Buttler (71 not out off 32 balls, 5 fours and 5 sixes) made a mockery of the pitch conditions and the reputation of Australia’s bowlers – Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Adam Zampa – to take England home in just 11.4 overs for their third straight win in the tournament.

England's Jos Buttler plays a reverse sweep. (Reuters)
England's Jos Buttler plays a reverse sweep. (Reuters)

Earlier, fast bowlers Chris Woakes (4-0-23-2), Chris Jordan (4-0-17-3) and spinners Adil Rashid (4-0-19-1), who opened the bowling, and Liam Livingstone (4-0-15-1) led the stunning assault on the Australians on a pitch that had grass.

Runs were hard to come by and such was the dominance of the England bowlers that the Australians could hit only seven boundaries in their 20 overs.

Skipper Finch (44 off 49 balls, 4 fours) remained defiant amid the mayhem that started in the second over when Woakes had David Warner (1) caught behind.

Steve Smith (1), Glenn Maxwell (6) and Marcus Stoinis (0) fell in quick succession with the former playing a tame pull off Jordan.

But Maxwell and Stoinis fell to brilliant bowling from Woakes and Rashid, leaving Australia tottering at 21 for four after 6.1 overs.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Matthew Wade (18) tried to revive the innings with his skipper, but the left-hander was caught in the deep off Livingstone while trying to force the pace.

Chris Jordan celebrates a wicket with Eoin Morgan. (ICC Twitter)
Chris Jordan celebrates a wicket with Eoin Morgan. (ICC Twitter)

It was left to Ashton Agar (20 off 20 balls, 2 sixes) and Cummins (12 off 3 balls, 2 sixes) to take chances as both the tailenders cleared the ropes at the fag end of the innings to give themselves something to bowl at.

But Buttler put them to the sword as the wicketkeeper-batsman drove and pulled the Australian fast bowlers and showed brilliant footwork against the spinners in what was a stupendous display of ball-striking.

Finch could only leave the stadium with grudging admiration.

“We got a total we thought would be defendable if we got it right with the ball. Woakes is a brilliant exponent when there's seam early. We had to bowl them out, but Buttler played a hell of an innings,” the Australian captain said.

Finch admitted that England are easily the most dominant team in white-ball formats now.

“They're very good. They're very well-rounded. They've got a lot of bases covered in terms of their quicks, spin, death bowling, and their batting is as powerful as anything,” he said.

“I mean, when Rashid is batting at No. 10, you know you've got a pretty good lineup. So yeah, they're a dominant side, no doubt. We've seen that for the last couple of years.”

Sri Lanka, who lost a humdinger to South Africa in the first game on Saturday, will now have the unenviable task of stopping this English juggernaut on Monday in Sharjah.

“I think every game that we go into we pay every opposition the amount of respect that they deserve regardless of the name of the country on their shirt,” England captain Morgan said.

“I think that's why we can perform probably more consistent than we have done in the past. I think sort of moving forward, it's always a matter of looking at ourselves and testing ourselves to try and continue to get better as opposed to looking at opposition.”

Brief scores:

Australia 125 all out in 20 overs (Aaron Finch 44, Ashton Agar 20, Matthew Wade 18, Pat Cummins 12; Chris Jordan 3/17, Chris Woakes 2/23, Liam Livingstone 1/15, Adil Rashid 1/19, Tymal Mills 2/45)

England 126/2 in 11.4 overs (Jos Buttler 71 not out, Jason Roy 22, Jonny Bairstow 16 not out; Ashton Agar 1/15).

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