Australia have had a perfect start to their tri-series against England and New Zealand, beating both teams in the two matches played in the series so far. Glenn Maxwell and Billy Stanlake have been the heroes for them so far, with several others in the team capable of taking them to victory virtually single-handedly
England were ordinary in their outing last time, but they have what it takes to beat Australia at home. Can they do it in Melbourne, or will Australia make it three in a row?
Eoin Morgan (c), Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, David Willey, Mark Wood, Sam Curran, Jake Ball
David Warner (c), Aaron Finch, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Ben Dwarshuis, Travis Head, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, D'Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa
Where the teams stand
England’s team selection for the last game had some questionable inductees. Chris Jordan was picked over a plethora of other better choices, while Billings was picked over James Vince. Billings averages only 13 in T20s compared to Vince’s 30+. On paper, England are still the better side of the two, but they need a couple of their players to score or bowl a match-winning spell to beat a team which is doing just that.
The English batsmen fell prey to Australia’s spinners, giving Agar and Maxwell an aggregate of 5 wickets of the 9 that the team managed. That is one area Morgan and co. need to focus on. They cannot afford to lose 3 wickets to Maxwell of all bowlers. Eoin Morgan has to be more responsible with his batting in the absence of Joe Root, who was excellent at stabilizing the innings. Without him at number 3, there needs to be someone in the middle order besides Malan who can stick around and also hit it long when needed.
David Willey was fantastic in his first match, reducing Australia to 4-2, but the rest of the bowling took a beating due to Maxwell’s superb century. There isn't much most bowlers can do when he's hitting the ball like that, but the bowlers need to support their batsmen better, even if it calls for some changes in the department. With the bowling evenly tied to the one possessed by their counterparts, this is likely to be a match where the one who can bat better will win.
Australia’s chances of winning was always going to rest on one of their players playing an exceptional, match-wining performance. First it was Billy Stanlake, who surprisingly rocked New Zealand and proved to be expensive against England. Then, it was Maxwell, who has been in great form in both the matches played so far. If he continues his explosive ways, no total is a safe one for the opposition. Warner has unexpectedly been out of touch, but if he or one of the others can start contributing, Australia have a high chance of success.
Kane Richardson and Tye have been the underrated heroes of the two games played so far. Both have been very economical in their four overs, and have chipped in with wickets as well. The latter took 4 wickets in the first match, maintaining an economy of under 6 as well. They will be the key bowlers for Australia in the upcoming match. It will also be interesting to see the English batsmen trying to tackle Agar and Maxwell, given their troubles against spin in the last match. All Australia need to do is hope that things keep going the way they have, and they will win another game at home.
Australia win. They have been effective in the series so far, and after winning two matches, it will hard to peg down this side.