England complete a convincing eight-wicket win over Australia at the T20 World Cup; Jos Buttler smashes 71no from 32 balls as Eoin Morgan’s side chase down 126 in 11.4 overs; Chris Woakes (2-23) and Chris Jordan (3-17) lead a superb bowling effort with Aussies skittled for 125 in Dubai
By Sam Drury
Last Updated: 30/10/21 6:53pm
Jos Buttler hit a blistering 71 not out from 32 balls as England maintained their 100 per cent start to the T20 World Cup with a crushing eight-wicket win over Australia in Dubai.
The victory was built on another superb bowling effort as early wickets from Chris Woakes (2-23), Chris Jordan (3-17) and Adil Rashid (1-19) set the tone, with Australia slipping to 21-4 before eventually being bowled out for 125 from the last ball of the innings.
Jason Roy and Buttler then went off like a train in the chase, taking England to 66-0 at the end of the powerplay – the highest score of any team so far in the tournament after six overs.
Although Roy fell in the next over, Buttler just kept going and Australia’s bowlers had no answers as he got England home inside 12 overs with a mere 50 balls to spare, taking them closer to the semi-finals.
After winning the toss and choosing to bowl, Eoin Morgan made the decision to give Rashid the first over and after a tidy start from the leg-spinner, the seamers got to work.
Woakes had David Warner caught behind with his second ball, followed it up with a fantastic one-handed catch at mid-on as Jordan removed Steve Smith and then nipped one back to trap Glenn Maxwell plumb lbw and leave Australia reeling at 15-3.
It only got worse for the Aussies as Rashid bamboozled Marcus Stoinis with a googly to get the all-rounder lbw and, with England in complete control, Aaron Finch – who had watched the early collapse from the non-striker’s end – and Matthew Wade had little option but to attempt a slow rebuild.
They added 30 in the next 5.3 overs before Wade (18) holed out to give a fired-up Liam Livingstone (1-15) a wicket his disciplined bowling deserved.
Ashton Agar (20) got a couple of hefty blows in against Tymal Mills but the England left-armer had him caught in the deep before Pat Cummins nailed his first two balls for six.
Jordan returned to dismiss Finch (44) at the start of the 19th over and bowled Cummins (12 from three) with a toe-crushing yorker.
Mills (2-45) was a touch expensive again in the last over but after the run out of Adam Zampa, he had Mitchell Starc caught behind with the last ball to round things off for England.
Australia needed early wickets to have any hope of defending such an under-par total but the much-vaunted trio of quicks – Starc, Cummins and Josh Hazlewood – never really threatened.
Buttler had already pulled Starc for four when Roy walked down and dismissively slapped Hazlewood’s first ball through the legside.
Cummins was next to feel the wrath of the England openers with Roy clubbing the ball over the legside – the sound off the bat alone would have been enough to confirm the ball going all the way for six.
Buttler hammered Agar over long off in the fourth over to really get himself moving and back-to-back sixes off Starc – the second of them effortlessly dumped into the top tier – in the last over of the powerplay really showed England’s dominance.
Zampa had Roy (22 from 20) lbw on review early in the seventh and Agar got Dawid Malan (8) caught behind, in between which Buttler nailed Starc for a pair of fours and brought up a 25-ball half-century with another mighty six, this time back over Zampa’s head.
Zampa’s punishment continued with Buttler’s fifth six, gleefully slapped back down the ground, before the opener handed over to Jonny Bairstow, who powered the next two into the crowd to hammer another nail into the Australia coffin.
Victory for England was secured in the next over and they can book their place in the semi-finals with a win over Sri Lanka on Monday, while Australia slip to third, behind South Africa on net run-rate, after their first defeat of the tournament.
Chris Woakes – for so long Woakes was the unsung hero for England across all formats but his performances with the new ball in white-ball cricket are worthy of all the praise that has come his way in recent times. He removed two of Australia’s most dangerous batters in a superb opening spell, his ability to get the ball moving off the seam shown perfectly in the dismissal of Glenn Maxwell – and he took a brilliant catch as well, for good measure.
Chris Jordan – after a slow start to the tournament, England’s most experienced T20 seamer was in fine form. It is his bowling at the death that has made him a mainstay in the side but he showed he can make an impact in the powerplay, too, with the wicket of Steve Smith. Two wickets in two balls in the 19th over was more what England have come to expect from the 33-year-old fast bowler, with the yorker to castle Pat Cummins showing just why he has been so effective in that phase of the game.
Jos Buttler – this was a masterclass from the England opener, perhaps the most dominant batting performance of the tournament so far and he made it all look so simple. Five fours, five sixes and an Australian attack full of top-class bowlers treated with disdain. With Buttler in this form, they will always have a chance.
Next up for England is a trip to Sharjah to face Sri Lanka on Monday (1.30pm on Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event), while Australia’s next engagement is against Bangladesh in Dubai on Thursday (9.30am, Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event).
England vs Sri Lanka
November 1, 2021, 1:30pm
Australia vs Bangladesh
November 4, 2021, 9:30am
Sunday sees another double-header of Super 12 action, with Afghanistan taking on Namibia in Abu Dhabi (9.30am, Sky Sports Cricket) before India and New Zealand go head-to-head in Dubai (2.30pm, Sky Sports Cricket).
Afghanistan vs Namibia
October 31, 2021, 9:30am
India vs New Zealand
October 31, 2021, 1:30pm
Watch the T20 World Cup live on Sky between now and November 14.