Home Cricket Australia and England face off in the T20 World Cup after both losing their bite

Australia and England face off in the T20 World Cup after both losing their bite


A confrontation between the two longtime rivals takes the form of a struggle between groups trying to overcome adversity.

The sense that this is the match that both the English and Australian sides have been waiting for grows as Friday night, marking the halfway point of the T20 World Cup group stage, approaches.

According to the almost 90,000 spectators who filled the Melbourne Cricket Ground for their own group stage match, India and Pakistan may have outperformed this rivalry in terms of frenzied intensity and sheer population.

Even though there won’t be quite as many spectators, cricket’s first rivalry was between England and Australia.

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But because it has now essentially turned into an early knockout for both teams, the game is even more tense. Australia’s defeat to New Zealand cannot be considered an outright upset because the Kiwis have advanced to the finals of the last two World Cups for 50-over teams, the most recent World Cup for 20-over teams, and the World Test Championship. A barnstorming victory on these shores was a surprise because even these perennially prosperous New Zealanders have repeatedly performed poorly when facing Australia.

Ireland’s victory over England on Wednesday afternoon at the MCG was a more significant shock. Even while the Irish victory over England in Bengaluru during the 2011 World Cup may go down in history, it is still one of just two times they have defeated the English in 50-over cricket, and this was the first time in T20s. They controlled the situation while batting for the first half of the innings before losing control. They controlled the action while bowling for half the innings before the rain arrived and England took back control. The manner of the victory was fortunate, but superb play laid the groundwork for it.

With just two teams able to qualify for the semi-finals and New Zealand already having a mortgage on one position, this means that England and Australia have each banked one win and one loss and cannot afford to lose another. An England loss against Australia would see them eliminated, assuming that those three sides can handle their individual assignments against Afghanistan, Ireland, and Sri Lanka, an assumption that recent outcomes have proven should have a caveat. In order to compete with England on the net run rate in the event that Australia lost, they would need England to lose to New Zealand.

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Both parties would not have anticipated being here just a few days ago, comfortably positioned as the big dogs in their group. But neither has up to this far delivered a compelling performance. The early batting of Finn Allen completely caught the Australians off guard against New Zealand, and they never recovered. Before it ever got going, their massive run chase was derailed. Even while certain players versus Sri Lanka put up strong individual efforts, the team appeared vulnerable at times throughout the match.

While chasing a minor-league 112, England faltered to an opening victory against Afghanistan. In Melbourne, Ireland’s bowlers similarly jumped England at the beginning of the innings. The fact that England was still five runs shy of the rain adjustment target when the game was called in the 15th over was due to a position of 29-3 in the sixth over. Earlier, despite losing the strength of Paul Stirling early, their bowlers had been destroyed by Ireland’s top order, who had scored 92-1 after 10 overs.

In that sense, the present match between Australia and England is more of a struggle between teams trying to overcome adversity than a clash of the titans. Of course, in a few exciting minutes of T20 cricket, one performance can spark a team’s chemistry. For England, Mark Wood has been impressive, regularly getting wickets while charging in at full speed and bowling quickly. Ben Stokes hasn’t contributed much with the bat, but he’s made a difference with the ball by taking advantage of Australian surfaces’ bounce. In the middle order, Moeen Ali and Liam Livingstone have used their striking skillfully.

Meanwhile, Australia will be looking to capitalize on the momentum created by Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell, whose fireworks turned around their lagging innings against Sri Lanka. Adam Zampa might have overcome his illness, Josh Hazlewood has had a fantastic couple of years bowling in the format, and Mitchell Starc has looked at ease at the first change. Although there is cause for optimism on both sides, for one of them, it will only endure through Friday.