T20 World Cup Wrap: Australia v England Ashes entrée - Sky
If you’re a fan of the Ashes, and are looking forward to parking up on the couch watching this year’s Boxing Day Test with your Christmas leftovers, then tomorrow morning’s (NZT) fixture between Australia and England is the one for you.
And yes, granted, this match is in the shortest form of the game and so doesn’t compare at all. But the Ashes is all that the cricketing world hears about on a biannual cycle – the build-up to the next battle for the urn, the contests itself, the revelling in glory for the winner or lamenting the ‘could have beens’ for the loser, and then repeat cycle.
So with the next edition only weeks away from commencing, and a number of key figures in both teams’ Test sides also featuring in this clash, it will be a fascinating watch to see who can land a few early blows.
A couple of scorching wins over the West Indies and Bangladesh will have England full of confidence, but the downside is they are yet to be truly tested in this tournament. Meanwhile, Australia have had to work a bit harder for their wares with a nail-biting win over South Africa before easing home against Sri Lanka in Dubai.
And lo and behold, David Warner has snapped his poor run of form with a lovely 65 from 42 balls, while his opening partner and captain Aaron Finch bounced back from his duck in the previous game to also make a solid 37 off 23 – including two maximums.
As is the case with any opening partnership, a heavy responsibility will fall on Warner and Finch to navigate their side through the powerplay regardless of whether they’re setting or chasing a total. They are one of the best opening pairs in the world, and their record together in both white ball formats shows they are two players who thrive on that responsibility.
Adam Zampa was the pick of the Australia bowlers with an astonishing two for 12 from his four overs, and at the same venue against England he will be hoping to replicate that to stall their batting line-up.
Likewise on the other side of fence, Moeen Ali is a man in great form with the ball after picking up a couple of wickets for 18 runs from three overs against Bangladesh and a player of the match two for 17 off four, including a maiden, against the West Indies. Honestly, what can’t the man do? Although that player of the match is a touch bizarre considering his spin bowling partner Adil Rashid took a brilliant four wickets for two runs in 2.2 overs to mop up the tail.
Eoin Morgan continues to be a ticking clock in the middle order for England after not being required to bat against Bangladesh, and finishing 7 not out against the West Indies when they were only chasing 56. He’ll want to make a notable contribution against their biggest rivals, otherwise he may give himself a breather and drop out for their following match against Sri Lanka.
Both teams fielded unchanged line-ups for their first two matches, so we’re probably going to see that trend continue for this one and see how their strongest XI holds up against quality opposition.
Of the ten Super 12 matches so far, nine of the teams bowling first have gone on to win, including all four matches at the Dubai International Stadium so the all important toss win could be crucial to either team’s fortunes.