Australia vs England: Arch rivals lock horns for the top spot

Photo: ICC
Photo: ICC

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The two oldest rivals of cricket are scheduled to face each other in Dubai tonight at 8.00 pm Bangladesh time. 

Both these sides have so far registered four points in two games – with England currently leading the table courtesy of a better net run rate. Whoever wins this game are set to make it three out of three and get to the top of the ladder. 

England are absolutely booming in confidence after two successive comprehensive victories. In their tournament opener, they annihilated the Caribbeans by knocking them over for just 55 runs. In their second fixture, they outplayed Bangladesh in a manner that made the difference in the quality of these two sides very visible. 

Although there was a little hiccup in the chase against West Indies, the one against Bangladesh showed that the English batters have managed to adapt to the conditions quite well. And as for their bowling department, they have been as phenomenal as it can get. 

Australia’s tournament began with a nervy chase against South Africa. But in the very next game, they uplifted their batting prowess significantly to secure a convincing win against the Lankans. 

Unarguably, the best news for the Aussies has been David Warner’s return to form as he scored 65 runs in 42 deliveries in the second fixture. 

Although the fifth bowler can be a cause of concern for them as the pair of Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell conceded 51 runs in four overs among themselves against Sri Lanka, the rest of the bowling lineup looks very formidable. 

Moeen Ali once again is going to be a key factor to England’s success. He bowled three overs in the powerplay in both matches so far and is expected to do the same tonight as well. 

Besides, his ability to hit the ball far and long can also prove to be crucial against the fifth bowler(s) of the Aussies. 

On the other hand, Adam Zampa’s spell will be instrumental for Australia. In the two games played so far, he bowled spells of 2/21 and 2/12 respectively. Against an English batting lineup that is very aggressive in nature but not so splendid against quality spin, Zampa can be the bowler who can drag the game in his team’s favour. 

Both sides are expected to continue with the winning combination. However, should Australia consider addressing the fifth bowler issue, Ashton Agar might be a possible alternative replacing Mitchell Marsh. 

For England, Mark Wood and Tom Curran both have some injury concerns – ankle niggle and knee problem respectively. English skippers said that they would wait till the last moment to make a decision. If certified fit, Mark Wood might get an opportunity in place of Dawid Malan, although very unlikely. 

Both Aussie skipper Aaron Finch and English captain Eoin Morgan admitted that this encounter is going to be a challenging one for respective sides and their teams are completely up for the challenge. 

"We're looking forward to it. They've probably been the form side in white-ball cricket for a long time. We love playing them and it'll be an entertaining game," said Finch as quoted by ESPNcricinfo. 

"It's probably going to be one of our most difficult games. Australia are a very strong side. Coming into the tournament, they would probably be considered joint-second favourites, along with us. They're a side that we know pretty well - we've played against them a lot over a number of years, so looking forward to a really good game," ESPNcricinfo quoted the English skipper.

These teams have met each other 20 times prior to tonight’s game. Australia lead the matchup with ten wins against eight for England. In T20 World Cups, however, they have met only twice – both the teams are at par here with one win each. 

The writer is currently studying at the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka (IBA-DU).
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