AUSTRALIA: England certainly got into a hugely entertaining opening T20I in Perth after landing in Australia for the lead-up to their winter’s main event.
The victory was just by eight runs, which may have concealed the magnitude of the advances achieved on a Sunday night that saw a total of 408 runs, the second-highest number of runs ever registered in Australia.
In particular, Mark Wood’s three wickets in ten balls proved to be the real differentiator between the teams in a game that the bat otherwise dominated. Jos Butler also made an immediate return to form following a protracted injury layoff.
There were many reasons to trust Butler’s claim that England will be a “dangerous” opponent in the rapidly coming T20 World Cup after Alex Hales’ Player-of-the-Match-winning 84 off 51 balls and another incisive exhibition from left-armer Reece Topley.
Meanwhile, Australia’s David Warner is a player who never looks out of form. He is consistently scoring runs for Australia, and the first T20 was no different.
There might be a piece of good news for Australia: the top guns, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, and Adam Zampa, could all be back in Canberra.
It will be highly different for Buttler’s team to defeat an assault that features the big three of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, and Josh Hazlewood, but if they succeed, they may be able to improve from their present dark-horse World Cup status.
Players to watch out
David Warner: He is one of the top and most consistent performers for Australia, regardless of the format. He scored 73 off 44 balls in the first T20 against a good bowling attack by the visitor’s team.
Australia will also be counting on him to score the bulk of the runs for them, and England will also be focusing on him not to let him free his arm; as the game advances, he becomes more and more dangerous for the opposition.
Ben Stokes: Who would dare wager against his star power playing a decisive role in a World Cup when it matters most? His star quality is undeniable.
The hot subject in England’s ranks, however, continues to be his search for form during a hurried buildup. The English all-rounder is definitely a player to watch out for today.
Following Cameron Green’s replacement in Australia’s last three games, Aaron Finch has announced he will rejoin David Warner at the top of the order.
One concern is whether they want to extend Smith’s innings or give Josh Inglis a chance before the World Cup.
Following a finger injury, Chris Jordan might be ready for his first game of the winter, and David Willey is also on the sidelines. The most likely people to take a break are Mark Wood and Reece Topley.
Australia (probable): David Warner, Aaron Finch (capt), Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Tim David, Matthew Wade (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood.
England (probable): Jos Butler (capt & wk), Alex Hales, Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Harry Brook, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan, David Willey, Adil Rashid.