An in-form England will face a buoyant Australia with Group 1 bragging rights up for grabs in a Super 12 game at the ICC Twenty20 World Cup in Dubai on Saturday.
Both teams are coming on the back of facile wins; Australia beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets at the same venue and England thrashed Bangladesh by eight wickets in Abu Dhabi.
David Warner and Aaron Finch were big pluses against Sri Lanka. Australia was able to control the game during the middle overs through Adam Zampa and Mitchell Starc. But Sri Lanka batters targeted the fifth and sixth bowlers — Glenn Maxwell (16 off his only over) and Marcus Stoinis (0-35 off three overs). England will look to exploit the potential fifth-bowler weakness.
Pat Cummins, however, indicated that Australia is unlikely to change combination. “Maxy (Maxwell) bowling one in the first six, that means now Starcy (Starc) can have an extra over through the middle. You saw he took a couple of wickets in the middle overs. We were able to do that because of Maxy,” Cummins said on Friday.
On the flip side, England’s bowling attack has been ruthless. Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes toppled Bangladesh with combined figures of 3 for 27 in the PowerPlay.
Moeen has bowled all seven of his overs on the trot – four in a row against West Indies, and three more against Bangladesh. The matchup between Warner and Moeen will be crucial. Tymal Mills has been incisive at the death.
England’s batting has looked in good shape but hasn’t been put under pressure. A top-of-the-table clash with Australia could be a timely litmus test.
All four matches held in Dubai at this World Cup have been won by the side batting second. “There’s always an advantage in chasing, statistically, regardless of the country that you’re playing in,” Eoin Morgan said. “We’ve only played one night game so far, and there was actually no dew for the whole evening, even though the game didn’t go the whole duration.”
The winner of this match will inch closer to the semifinals.