Aussie pacer Pat Cummins, the bowling heartbeat, played down the Ashes rivalry, but referred to the England clash as the big game in the context of the tournament. “It’s always huge. We play England a lot. I think the style of play is similar. We like to take the game on. They’ve been probably just about the form team the last few years in white-ball cricket,” Cummins said. He did add though that “it would be good to get one on the board against them early”.
England skipper Eoin Morgan is no more a part of the team’s red-ball plans, but he dismissed the idea that success by one of the teams over the other on Saturday could have a bearing on what happens in December.
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“There was a time and a place where 50-over cricket was closely aligned with Test cricket and the way that it was played, particularly top of the order and how your quicks bowl. But white-ball cricket has moved so far away from red-ball cricket. It’s the difference between day and night between a psychological blow in one format in comparison to the other,” the 2019 ODI World Cup winning captain stated. He however called Saturday’s game as England’s “most difficult challenge” and along with his outfit called Australia second favourites.
Both England and Australia are undefeated. Both teams have a similar template. They like to own the powerplays and they are both well-balanced and blessed with destructive batting depth. And yes, they both like to chase. It is an important aspect in this World Cup, as nine of the ten Super 12 clashes (till Thursday) were won by the team chasing.
David Warner laid out the advantages of batting first after starring in the win over Sri Lanka on Thursday. “Just being able to assess bowling first, what you have to do from a batting group, that gives you a little bit of the upper edge,” Warner said.
England skipper Eoin Morgan though said that chasing in any part of the world in T20s is advantageous statistically and not just in the UAE.
He though knows that Warner and fellow opener and skipper Aaron Finch will go hard at the bowlers, who have not been put under too much pressure by either West Indies or Bangladesh. This is precisely why coach and former opener Justin Langer has chosen to go with a bowler light to enable them to field heavy artillery in the batting department.
Australia have trusted Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Adam Zampa to bowl 16 overs and have chosen Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis to share the four overs between them. That combination has allowed Australia the comfort of going hard at the top knowing that they have the batting resources in case of a top order wobble.
England go hard at the top with Jos Buttler and Jason Roy. They like to use Chris Jordan, Chris Woakes and Tymal Mills to bowl hard lengths into the pitch and then use Adil Rashid as their main spinner. Rashid and Jordan have been England’s most successful bowlers in T20 cricket. Morgan has also made generous use of Moeen Ali and Liam Livingstone.
Since the defeat to the West Indies in the 2016 final, England have won 31 of the 52 games played and they have scored at 8.78 runs per over. But against Australia it is 3-3 in the head to head. Who’ll pull away in Dubai?