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T20 World Cup 2021 | England vs Australia: Old foes meet on the big stage again

England have erased concerns about their batting and bowling working in the slower conditions in UAE with all-round performances.

October 30, 2021 / 10:03 AM IST

It's not very often that England and Australia meet in a World Cup game where England are the favourites. That indeed is the case this time around when these two clash in Dubai. While both teams have two wins apiece so far, England have always been the favourites to win this tournament while Australia's two back-to-back wins have surprised a few given their recent performances.

England and Australia are in the 'group of death' that is quickly sporting a very one-sided look after West Indies' ordinary showing and South Africa not really capable of fully challenging the two toppers. This game is crucial for both teams as it will virtually help them put one foot on the semi-final berth. Australia, in particular, would be keen to test how their Test match-style bowling attack goes against a proper T20 batting side like England.

Team news and probable XI

Australia are likely to stick to their guns and play the same XI on a surface that is expected to continue assisting a bit of pace early on. The pace trio virtually cementing their place in the XI will mean there's no room for Ashton Agar yet. Batting wise, Australia's concerns were eased a bit by David Warner's outstanding showing against Sri Lanka. That Australia have been flexible with Glenn Maxwell also augurs well for them against a top side like England.

Australia likely XI: Aaron Finch, David Warner, Steve Smith, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Adam Zampa

England have been ruthless with their bowling plans so far and will be more than happy to continue using the set bowlers in similar roles. This means we could see Moeen Ali with the new ball again against David Warner. There are more concerns in the batting department, especially with Dawid Malan although he saw the team through last game in a run-a-ball scenario. A change is unlikely at this point, but England might be tempted to move Moeen Ali to No.3 and bring in someone like David Willey who can be really threatening with the new ball.

England likely XI: Jos Buttler, Jason Roy, Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan, Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Tymal Mills

The talk around the team

After the last game, Australia skipper Aaron Finch said that he was keenly looking forward to playing England. "It's always a great battle [against England]. 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." Given how he has done spectacularly well against the arch-rivals, Finch will be aiming to continue his good start in the tournament.

England have erased concerns about their batting and bowling working in the slower conditions in UAE with all-round performances. But they will still be wary of Australia's new ball attack that can dent them early. England's middle-order after Jonny Bairstow is largely untested in recent times and that's one area Australia will be targeting them.

Players to watch for

Josh Hazlewood: Hazlewood has had a remarkable turnaround in his record in T20s with some incredible performances this year with the ball. Hazlewood against England's openers will be a key battle in this match, especially if there's some assistance early on for the quicks. Hazlewood will hope to hit the hard lengths to keep Jos Buttler and Jason Roy from hitting through the line, something that has been easier in UAE than lining up to hit off the back foot.

Tymal Mills: Mills made a remarkable return to England colours in this T20 World Cup and has been quite good with the ball, mixing up his pace and variations. With Australia's batters mostly keen to play percentage cricket, Mills will be in with a chance to tease them with his slower ones and variations.

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first published: Oct 30, 2021 10:03 am