Late collapse hands England tense win in first T20

Late collapse hands England tense win in first T20

By ScoreLine Desk - September 6, 2020

A dramatic late batting collapse of four wickets in 14 balls has seen Australia slump to a two-run loss against England in Southampton, their first international match since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

At one stage in their pursuit of 163 to win, Australia needed just 40 runs to win from 39 balls with nine wickets in hand after David Warner and Aaron Finch had added 98 for the first wicket.

But the tourists lost 4-9 in less than three overs to hand all the responsibility to the recalled Marcus Stoinis (23no from 18 balls), who muscled one six late on but couldn’t secure the 15 runs required in the final over for victory.

Australia managed just one boundary in the final six overs – the six from Stoinis with five balls remaining – and conceded eight dot balls in that time as well as losing five wickets.

It’s only Australia’s second loss from their past 11 T20 internationals, with the other defeat coming after a similar late collapse against South Africa in Port Elizabeth in Feburary.

Australia’s bowlers had earlier overcome an early assault from Jos Butter (44 from 29 balls) and an impressive innings from Dawid Malan (66 from 43) to restrict England to 7-162 from their 20 overs.

Played in a tightly-controlled biosecure hub at the Ageas Bowl on England’s south coast, the match is the first time a senior Australian national sporting team has played since the coronavirus outbreak.

But Australia’s openers showed no signs of rust, the pair of Warner and Finch falling just short of what would have been their fourth century stand from just 11 white-ball internationals this year.

Adil Rashid loomed as England’s trump card on a pitch that seemed to favour slower bowlers, but Finch neutralised the leg-spinner by clubbing 17 runs from his second over, forcing him out of the attack as Australia reached 0-91 by the halfway stage of the innings.

But Eoin Morgan’s enforced bowling change brought Jofra Archer back into the attack and the speedster got the breakthrough, ruffling up Finch with a short ball before the opener tried to go over the top and offered a catch to mid-off.

It triggered a dramatic stumble that saw Steve Smith (who hit his first delivery, a 155kp/h short ball from Mark Wood, for four), Glenn Maxwell, Warner and Alex Carey all dismissed in the space of just 14 deliveries, with Rashid responding to Finch’s attack by finishing with 2-29 from his four overs.

And when some smart work from Chris Jordan ran out Ashton Agar from the final ball of the penultimate over, it was left to Stoinis to finish the job.

Back in the Australian side for the first time since last year’s World Cup, Stoinis was batting away from his familiar opening slot and while he managed one mighty six in the final over, Australia fell just short of victory.

Earlier, England’s innings was bookended by two surges in the run rate, but the Australian bowlers dominated the middle overs in another impressive display with the ball.

After Jos Buttler had given England a fast start – including 16 runs from the second over as the move to open with Agar backfired – Australia pulled back the run rate before the wickets started to tumble.

Agar (2-32) fought back impressively to dismiss Buttler and Tom Banton in consecutive overs before Maxwell, playing his first international match since November, made two crucial strikes of his own to give Australia the upper hand.

Skipper Finch played a major role in the fightback; he took an excellent running catch to dismiss Banton, targeted Morgan with a combination of short-pitched bowling and off-spin and rotated his bowlers nicely as it became clear that taking pace off the ball was the prudent approach.

But the match turned in a pivotal 18th over; Finch chose to give Adam Zampa a fourth over instead of turning to Cummins or Maxwell and Malan took full toll, helping England club 22 runs to turn what could have been a sub-150 target into a total of 7-162.

Courtesy: cricketAustralia

By ScoreLine Desk

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