England’s T20I team was reduced to shambles in Dubai, as the T20 World Cup Super 12s continued their winning streak. In the powerplay, Chris Woakes bowled another sharp spell before Jos Buttler did pretty much what he wanted during an innings of 71 from 32 balls. The 125-run chase was a piece of cake, with more than eight overs to spare.
If the game wasn’t decided by the toss – teams batting second have now won 12 of the 14 Super 12 matches at this World Cup – it was decided by new-ball spells from Woakes and Chris Jordan. Australia limped to 21 for 3 at the end of the powerplay, and despite a partial comeback from 41 for 4 at the midway mark, their total appeared to be well below par.
The ball continued to fly to all parts as Buttler and Jason Roy got the England reply going. Australia’s bottom order had managed to pilfer 50 from the final four overs of their innings, and the ball continued to fly to all parts. They raced to 66 for 0 in the first six overs, the biggest powerplay total of the tournament thus far, before Buttler and Jonny Bairstow completed the game with a flurry of sixes, propelling England to the top of Group 1 and a semi-final berth.
Woakes’ results on the powerplay in the UAE were 4 for 29 from eight overs after an opening run of 3-0-7-2. With Jordan bowling with the new ball for the first time at the competition and taking 1 for 6 from his two overs, England was able to take full advantage of bowling first on a little grassy field and command the tempo of the game from there.
For the third match in a row, England had an unchanged lineup, although there was an obvious shift in strategy with the ball, with Adil Rashid replacing Moeen Ali as the opening spinner. Although Warner struck early, England was hoping for a match-up between Rashid and Finch, the Australian skipper having been bowled seven times by leg-spin this year.
England’s pursuit was more of a stroll. The openers swiftly imprinted their mark on the proceedings, requiring only a run per ball. Roy swatted four past mid-on with Josh Hazlewood’s opening delivery, and then creamed Pat Cummins into the seats in the third over – Australia had waited until the 17th over to clear the ropes.
After the powerplay, Roy had trapped lbw on review by Adam Zampa. Buttler reacted by blasting 4-4-6-1-2-4 off Mitchell Starc and Zampa in the ninth over, bringing up a 25-ball half-century; it quickly turned into a range-hitting exercise, with one of Buttler’s strokes measuring 105 metres. When Agar had Dawid Malan caught behind for 8, England required 29 from 66, and the end came quickly after, a third resounding win in a succession for Morgan’s side.
Never mind the Ashes, England has its sights set on the T20 World Cup.