TREVOR BAYLISS: Australia are still trying to find their feet while England look terrific and are battle-hardened… their T20 World Cup clash promises to be a CRACKER
- England and Australia go head-to-head in a vital Twenty20 World Cup clash
- Eoin Morgan’s side have looked terrific so far and that’s down to more game time
- Australia have come in a little cold but are known for improving throughout
- How England handle Aaron Finch and David Warner could be the key to success
England and Australia meet in Dubai on Saturday in what is a vital Twenty20 World Cup game for both sides and a nice little warm-up for the Ashes duel ahead.
England have looked terrific so far — and part of that might be because they have played significantly more cricket than all the other teams during the pandemic.
They are match-hardened and it is one thing they have over Australia who are still trying to find their feet. The bulk of their players have hardly played in the last few months.
England are set for a cracker against Australia in the Twenty20 World Cup on Saturday
Australia will know the most important time to play your best cricket is at the end of a tournament, not the beginning, and they have had a welcome habit over the years of always seeming to find a way at these big competitions.
But England will have gained plenty of confidence in the way they defeated West Indies and Bangladesh. We have seen both spin and real pace play a big role in this tournament so far and England have those bases covered.
England do have something of a new-look T20 attack in the UAE in the absence of Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Sam Curran but they are all experienced guys.
Chris Woakes has played a lot of international cricket and, even though Tymal Mills has not played as much as he would have liked because of injury, he’s been around a while and is proving he’s good enough for this England team.
I have been impressed by Mills. He’s been champing at the bit to do well and he’s got good pace and variations. England really do have so many options. The depth of talent in their resources is coming to the fore.
Eoin Morgan’s side are battle-hardened and have entered the competition in good form
Australia have not played as many games but have been known to grow into tournaments
It is no coincidence that two of the players who stood out for Australia in their opening victory over South Africa, Josh Hazlewood and Glenn Maxwell, both played a full part in the recent IPL. It means they haven’t come into this tournament cold.
A key to this game will be how Australia’s openers — Aaron Finch and David Warner — come through the powerplay. They both got scores on Thursday night against Sri Lanka which will give them confidence because they’d both short of runs of late.
Can Eoin Morgan keep Finch and Warner at bay again or can they get on top of the England attack? It will play a big part in the outcome of this clash.
On these wickets it doesn’t matter who it is, you need to hit a good length. England talk about hitting a ‘hard length’ and are bowling a little shorter in this tournament but, for me, it’s more a matter of hitting a length hard.
That means I’d go slightly fuller to the Aussies, hope the pitch goes a bit up and down, and make it difficult for the batters to time the ball and get into a groove.
The key to success for England could be how they deal with David Warner (L) and Aaron Finch
During the IPL, the Dubai wicket was tougher to score on than Abu Dhabi. It looked good but it didn’t actually play as well as it looked.
The ball wasn’t coming on and was holding in the pitch. Kane Williamson told me it was difficult to feel in on a Dubai pitch. It was a battle all the time.
And with spin the odd one would turn, then it would hold or skid through. So I would change the bowlers up regularly in this one rather than letting them bowl three or four overs in a row, as England have been doing, to make sure the batters can’t settle. I think Ashton Agar may play a part in this game to give Australia another spin option.
So, what’s my prediction? I’m afraid I’m going to sit on the fence for this one. I just want to see a good, competitive match and I’m sure I will get one. And whoever wins will take a big step towards the semi-finals.
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