Australia was cruising — An ugly, clumsy collapse handed the Poms the game on a silver plate
Australia was cruising to victory at 1-124 chasing a target of 163, with openers David Warner (58) and skipper Aaron Finch (46) getting them off to a sound start.
But Australia, in their first competitive match for nearly six months because of the coronavirus, lost four wickets for nine runs and an eventual victory target of 15 off six balls proved beyond the world’s top-ranked Twenty20 side as England, second in the standings, held their nerve.
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A 26-run stand between Warner and Steve Smith had seemed to put the bed worries of a collapse, only for Smith to pick out deep midwicket off Adil Rashid to fall for 18.
From there the wheels came off, with Glenn Maxwell (1) smashing the final ball of Rashid’s spell straight to the man at cover, before Jofra Archer bowled Warner (58) and Mark Wood did the same to Alex Carey (1). Across 13 balls Australia ha lose four wickets for nine runs to slide from 1-124 after 14.1 overs to 5-133 after 16.3.
When Ashton Agar was run for the final ball of the penultimate over it left Marcus Stoinis needing 15 off the last six deliveries.
“There was no dive from Ashton Agar,” Nasser Hussain said in commentary. “A dive would have saved him. Stoinis might be on strike but that’s an extra run they’ve got to get.
“That is lazy, clumsy cricket from Australia. It has been clumsy in the last half hour from them.”
Stoinis (23 off 18 not out) failed to get Australia home from there.
Earlier, Kane Richardson and Glenn Maxwell took two cheap wickets apiece as Australia held England to 7-162 in the first Twenty20 international at Southampton on Friday.
Australia is 6-148 in the chase, needing 15 off the last over.
Australia, in their first international match since March because of the coronavirus, were in danger of conceding a large total while recalled England opener Jos Buttler was making 44.
But Dawid Malan’s 66 — the left-hander’s eighth score of fifty or more in just 14 T20 international innings — was the only other contribution of note.
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Paceman Richardson took 2-13 from three overs and occasional spinner Maxwell 2-14 from his three overs.
Buttler, one of several 50-over World Cup winnners recalled to the England side following their drawn T20 series against Pakistan, took 16 off the second over from Ashton Agar, lofting the left-arm spinner for two straight sixes either side of pulling him for four.
But Agar had his revenge when Buttler pulled him straight to Pat Cummins at deep midwicket to end a 29-ball innings.
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His exit sparked a mini-collapse that saw England, second in the T20 rankings behind Australia, lose three wickets for 27 runs.
Agar had Tom Banton well caught by Aaron Finch -- who had won the toss -- as the Australia captain ran back from cover to take the ball over his shoulder.
Australia then removed dangerman Eoin Morgan for just five when the England captain skyed Maxwell and Steve Smith, running round from long-on, held a good catch on a gloomy evening illuminated by the Ageas Bowl floodlights.
Maxwell struck again when Moeen Ali, fresh from his 61 in England’s five-run defeat by Pakistan in the third T20 in Manchester on Tuesday, fell for just two when he top-edged a reverse-sweep to short third man.
Malan, who pulled Agar for six, completed a 37-ball fifty before he holed out off Richardson in the first of a three-match series
Stoinis stuck in logjam1:10
Australia XI: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey (wk), Ashton Agar, Adam Zampa, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson
England XI (possible): Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (wk), Dawid Malan, Tom Banton, Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Tom Curran, Chris Jordan, Jofra Archer, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood
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