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Match Preview – Australia vs England, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021/22, 26th Match, Group 1



Big Picture

In a few weeks the focus will be on the drawn-out battle of an Ashes series (although, in truth, a lot has already been said) but this meeting between England and Australia is a short, sharp encounter. A win for either of the great rivals would make it three from three and put one foot in a semi-final.

This should be England’s toughest test of the competition after a walkover against West Indies and barely needing to get out of second gear against Bangladesh. Likewise for Australia, it will likely give a much better indication of exactly where their T20 game sits. The signs against Sri Lanka were promising, both in how they hauled in a brisk start and then commanded the run chase. Could it be to Australia’s advantage that they have pushed harder so far?

In a sign of how the England sides diverge across formats, there’s a good chance that only two of the possible XI (Dawid Malan and Jos Buttler) play the opening Test at the Gabba whereas Australia will have five. With the exception of Chris Woakes from the players used so far, England’s bowlers are white-ball specialists.

The teams have not met in a T20I World Cup since the 2010 final in Barbados when England prevailed. David Warner, Steven Smith (who batted at No. 8 and was one of five bowlers) and Eoin Morgan are three survivors from that day. Australia have not gone as deep in the tournament since then.

Form guide

Australia WWLWL
England WWWWL

In the spotlight

Australia’s first two games have brought contrasting returns for the fifth bowler. Against South Africa, Glenn Maxwell was able to get through his four overs for a run-a-ball (and a wicket) but against Sri Lanka he and Marcus Stoinis conceded 51 between them. It’s the trade-off the balance of the side brings and, so far, the deep batting order has helped Australia: the middle order finished the chase against South Africa and they took just 17 overs to knock off the runs on Thursday. With the three frontline quicks and Adam Zampa going well it’s a gamble Australia can probably keep taking.

Australia have overcome the spin challenges posed by South Africa and Sri Lanka pretty effectively, although Wanindu Hasaranga, Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi were all able to maintain good control. It is likely to be an area England will be confident of exploiting. Moeen Ali has been outstanding against West Indies and Bangladesh and with the right-hand dominated Australia order Adil Rashid could also come to the fore. In his last outing against them in Southampton he took 3 for 21.

Team news

Despite that potential fifth-bowler weakness, it would appear unlikely Australia will change things. Ashton Agar remains an option if required. If they did bolster the bowling it would probably be at the expense of Mitchell Marsh who was the form player coming into the tournament.

Australia (probable) 1 David Warner, 2 Aaron Finch (capt), 3 Mitchell Marsh, 4 Steven Smith, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Marcus Stoinis, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood

Mark Wood has so far been sidelined with an ankle niggle which will be a concern given his injury history and Tom Curran has a knee problem. On form there seems little reason for England to tinker.

England (probable) 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jos Buttler (wk), 3 Dawid Malan, 4 Jonny Bairstow, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Liam Livingstone, 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Chris Jordan, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 Tymal Mills

Pitch and conditions

Win the toss, win the game? It’s starting to look like that with successful chases the dominant theme. Where the pitch is located on the square will dictate if there is a short boundary to target.

Stats and trivia

  • England and Australia are two of the oldest sides in the Super 12s: Tom Curran (26) is the youngest player in either squad, while Liam Livingstone (28) is the youngest to have made an appearance so far.
  • Stoinis has a remarkable head-to-head record against Chris Jordan. He’s faced 36 balls from him in all T20 cricket, scoring 87 runs without being dismissed.
  • Moeen has bowled three of the first six overs in both of England’s games so far. He could have his work cut out against Aaron Finch, who strikes at 177.50 against offspin in the Powerplay (and 187.89 overall) in T20Is.
  • Quotes

    “We’re looking forward to it. They’ve probably been the form side in white-ball cricket for a long time. We love playing them and it’ll be an entertaining game.”
    Aaron Finch on facing England

    “It will take some time for the entire landscape to shift and change, and it might be a little bit here and a little bit there at any given time. If taking the knee contributes towards that education and us slightly changing the landscape and pushing in a slightly different direction, we definitely want to continue to do that.”
    Chris Jordan explains why England will keep taking a knee

    Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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    Travis Head wins the race to be Australia's No. 5 in the Ashes



    Mitchell Starc will complete the fast-bowling trio alongside Josh Hazlewood and captain Pat Cummins

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    Mithali Raj – We have had ‘good preparation’ for 2022 World Cup by playing SA, England, Australia this year




    “We are getting to play in New Zealand before World Cup which is also good,” she says

    India Women are scheduled to play only one ODI series – against New Zealand – before the World Cup early next year but captain Mithali Raj feels the team has had “good preparation” so far in 2021.
    This year, India hosted South Africa for five ODIs before playing a three-match series in England and Australia each. They lost all three series but made Australia, the No. 1 team, work really hard for their 2-1 win and also ended their 26-match winning streak in the third ODI there.

    India will play World Cup hosts New Zealand for five ODIs before the World Cup in March-April.

    “We have played three best teams since March and it has given us good preparation,” Raj said after a partnership between KFC and Indian Deaf Cricket Association in Delhi on Wednesday. “Players have played domestic cricket and also in the Women’s Big Bash so they are getting game time which is the most important thing.

    “We are getting to play in New Zealand before World Cup which is also good.”

    India, who were unable to post 250-plus scores regularly earlier, did that twice in the Australia series and chased down 265 in the final ODI.

    “When you play against a strong team in its backyard you try to give your best,” Raj said. “Though we lost the series, the matches were very close. We scored 270 (274) and chased 270-odd, if we can do that consistently we will be among the best sides in world cricket.”

    India’s middle-order batting needs improvement but Raj said all departments must fire as a unit if they are to win the World Cup.

    “We bat as a unit so you can’t pinpoint one area,” she said. “There are times when the top order failed and the others performed. As a unit if we look to post a good total then it will help. If we focus on one area like middle order then it becomes too much of a burden for that particular slot.”

    India finished runners-up in the 2017 World Cup in England when not many expected them to but expectations will be higher this time.

    “There were not enough expectations back then,” Raj said. “Now in 2021, players have got experience and got a lot of exposure with the T20 leagues. Overall we have young players but they have got enough exposure. It is just of matter of gelling well as a team.

    “Every match will be different there. The quicker we read our opponents the better it will be for us.”

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    The Ashes 2021-22 – Michael Vaughan stood down from BT Sport Ashes coverage after Azeem Rafiq allegations




    Channel to adopt a “hybrid” approach with Vaughan’s stints on Fox Sports to be overlaid

    Michael Vaughan, the former England captain, will not be heard by UK audiences during this winter’s Ashes in Australia, after BT Sport followed the BBC’s decision to remove him from their TV coverage of the series.

    Vaughan, 47, was last week stood down from BBC Test Match Special’s coverage for “editorial” reasons, following allegations from Azeem Rafiq, the former Yorkshire cricketer, that he had said “there are too many of you lot” following the selection of four players of Asian heritage in a county fixture in 2009.

    Vaughan, who denies the allegations, apologised last week in an interview on BBC Breakfast for the “hurt” caused to Rafiq during his time as a player at Yorkshire, and will still be involved in this winter’s Ashes coverage through his commentary role with Fox Sports, the Australian host broadcaster.

    However, BT Sport – who are due to take the Fox Sports feed after choosing not to send a bespoke commentary team to Australia – announced on Tuesday that they will be taking a “hybrid” approach to their coverage, with Vaughan’s on-air stints to be overlaid with studio analysis.

    “As a result of Covid and travel restrictions BT Sport had made the decision to take our commentary feed from the Australian host broadcaster,” the channel said in a statement. “The recent report presented to UK Parliament uncovering institutional racism within cricket and specifically Yorkshire County Cricket Club is extremely disappointing and a concern for all.

    “Given these recent events and the controversy with the situation we have taken the decision that including Michael Vaughan within our Ashes coverage would not be editorially appropriate or fit with BT Sport’s values. We are still finalising plans but we are assessing the option of taking a hybrid approach, using Fox commentary where possible with the aim of putting our own commentary team in place if necessary.”

    Vaughan’s troubled build-up to the series continued on Tuesday, when he announced on Twitter that his arrival in Australia had been delayed by a week due to a positive Covid test. “[It] is frustrating,” he wrote. “But at least I’ll avoid the rain in Brisbane for a few days!”

    However, his hopes of being retained by the BBC after the Ashes have received a boost, after the corporation confirmed that they had been in “regular contact” with Vaughan since his suspension, and had held “positive conversations with him in recent days”.

    “Our contributors are required to talk about relevant issues, so Michael’s involvement in a story of such significance means it’s not possible for him to be part of our Ashes coverage or wider cricket coverage at the moment,” the statement added. “We’re pleased with how our conversations are going and expect to work with Michael again in the future. He remains on contract to the BBC.”

    The BBC’s stance was criticised this week by his former England team-mate Monty Panesar, who wrote in a column in the Daily Telegraph: “This feels deeply unethical — a classic case of someone being tried and convicted without any form of due process being undertaken.”

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