England produced an incredible team performance as they dismantled Australia for their third win of the tournament. England were better in all facets of the game in Dubai as they smashed their way to a convincing eight wicket win.
England won the toss and chose to field first, an unsurprising call due to their ability to chase and the trend of chasing teams winning in the competition so far.
England were unchanged, while Australia decided to change the balance of their side and picked another bowler to replace a batter. Even though this was expected, it suggested Australia were wary of the strength of England’s batting lineup even before the match began.
It was Chris Woakes’ opening burst that dented Australian hopes very early. His immaculate line and length accounted for David Warner (one run). It was his stunning one-handed catch over his head that dismissed Steve Smith for just one. Woakes then trapped Glenn Maxwell leg before wicket, who was Australia’s form batsman going into the match, for only six.
Woakes, who was a late addition to the squad on the lead up to the tournament, matched his achievements in the 2019 World Cup semi-final in England when he made similar early inroads. Those were in the familiar conditions of his home ground, Edgbaston, but his ability to adapt to overseas pitches has improved massively and this was testament of his hard work.
The rest of the bowling attack continued on the tone set by their opening bowler. All the bowlers contributed wickets, Chris Jordan won player of the match for his three wickets and Adil Rashid and Liam Livingstone took one economical wicket each. Tymal Mills (two wickets) was expensive considering the low total.
There was a rally from Australia, captain Aaron Finch scored a slow 44 runs but kept the innings together. The real impact came from numbers: six, seven, eight and nine in the batting order as they contributed eight out of the twelve boundaries hit by Australia. The other four were from Finch, who faced 49 balls. They ended on a mere 125, which once again in this tournament felt like England were going to comfortably chase.
This could not have been more the case in the end as Jos Buttler dismissively swatted the Australian attack around the ground in a quite spectacular display of T20 hitting. His 71 not out meant that England strolled home with 50 balls remaining. Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow also played their part, contributing two boundaries each. This, however, was entirely the Jos Buttler show.
The manner of the victory will spark many England fans to reminisce about the aforementioned World Cup semi-final of 2019. It was a statement victory and all but confirmed their place in the knockout stage of the tournament. England will certainly take some beating in this competition.
Australia: 125-9 20 overs (Finch 44, Jordan 3-17)
England: 126-2 11.4 overs (Buttler 71*)
Concrete’s Batter of the match: Jos Buttler
Concrete’s Bowler of the match: Chris Woakes
The impressive Pakistan team continued their unbeaten start to the tournament, thanks largely to Asif Ali smashing four sixes off one over as they got past Afghanistan in what was a highly entertaining game.
Scotland were unable to get their first win of the Super 12 phase as they narrowly lost to Namibia. They did well to recover from losing three wickets in the first over as they found themselves 2-3.
South Africa had a fantastic Saturday as they not only beat Sri Lanka by 4 wickets but their chances of qualification were also boosted by the Australian loss. Their win was sealed in the final over of the game by David Miller but was set up by an impressive three wickets from number one bowler in the world Tabraiz Shamsi as they reduced Sri Lanka to just 142.