Twenty20 World Cup talking points ahead of England’s opener against West Indies
There is debate about England’s final XI.Debate about England’s final XI seems likely to carry on until the toss at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, with England captain Eoin Morgan renowned for keeping his cards close to his chest.
England could take a massive stride towards reaching the T20 World Cup semi-finals by beating Australia in Dubai. © PA Images Australia v Sri Lanka – ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021
The old rivals go up against each other on Saturday night in an eagerly-anticipated tussle as the only sides in their Super 12s group to win both their opening fixtures.
Here, the PA news agency considers some of the important issues ahead of the showdown.
No-no to landing psychological Ashes blow for Morgan
Eoin Morgan was brief and to the point when asked whether this fixture, the first of potentially seven between now and mid-January, represented an opportunity for England to leave some mental scarring ahead of the Ashes. “None whatsoever,” said Morgan, who when asked to elaborate, added: “I think white-ball cricket has moved so far away from red-ball cricket that there’s just day and night between a psychological blow in one format in comparison to the other.” Australia quick Pat Cummins admitted: “It will be great to get one on the board against them early.”
England set for step up
England have been magnificent in the field in sweeping aside the West Indies and Bangladesh.
Morgan expects Australia to pose England’s toughest T20 World Cup challenge yet
England T20 machine purring after comprehensive win over Bangladesh
England have to be among the tournament favourites right now.On paper, West Indies and Bangladesh offered a challenging and tricky start to the tournament, yet the manner in which England have dispatched two experienced international sides will do nothing but please captain Eoin Morgan and coach Chris Silverwood. As perfect as a start that they could have wished for. Alongside Pakistan, they have begun their campaign in dominant fashion.
The Windies were blown away for a scarcely believable 55 before Bangladesh were restricted to 124 for nine as England coasted to victory by margins of six and eight wickets respectively. However, Morgan is acutely aware a tougher test awaits this weekend, with the England captain rating Australia as “joint-second favourites, along with us”. Aaron Finch’s side scraped past South Africa in their tournament opener before dispatching Sri Lanka with relative ease on Thursday.
Warner back in form
David Warner had a sliding doors moment in that seven-wicket triumph over Sri Lanka. The Australia opener, who has had a lean run of scores of late, had made his way to 18 off 10 balls but then got a glove to an an attempted pull off Dushmantha Chameera. The Sri Lanka bowler had his arms aloft while umpire Richard Illingworth was in the process of raising his finger when they saw wicketkeeper Kusal Perera spill a simple chance. Warner did not look back and proceeded to make 65 off 42 balls as Australia made light work of chasing 155. Cummins believes the beast is back, saying: “He’s a big game player. I’m sure (against England) you’ll see him puffing his chest out.”
Unburdened Adil Rashid focused on helping England to T20 World Cup success
The leg-spinner says his shoulder injury is behind him after rehabilitation and strength and conditioning work.The leg-spinner needed two cortisone injections on his bowling arm to get through England’s 2019 50-over World Cup success, where he took just 11 wickets at an average of 47.81 in a tournament where most slow bowlers struggled.
Win the toss and…
Before Friday’s matches, the team batting second had won nine of 10 matches at the Super 12 stage, including all six in England and Australia’s pool. It was thought even before the tournament that teams batting second would have the advantage because of the evening humidity creating moisture on the pitch and the outfield. David Willey said last week England were “dunking balls in buckets and catching, fielding, bowling with wet balls” to replicate the dew. Morgan insisted that “there’s always an advantage in chasing, statistically regardless of the country that you’re playing in”, but there will be a few nerves when the coin goes in the air half an hour before play.
Wood set to miss out again
There is growing optimism England will soon welcome back Mark Wood but the Australia game looks to come too soon. The express fast bowler felt some discomfort in his left ankle just a couple of days out from the opener against the Windies and had an injection to ease the pain. But with the Ashes looming, England are loath to take any risks with their only out-and-out quick heading Down Under. Tom Curran is also nursing a knee injury, but Morgan said of the pair: “They’re progressing really well. Where we were before the first game, they’ve come on a long way.” Share on Facebook Share Share on TwitterTweet Send email Mail
England lose Jason Roy for rest of T20 World Cup, James Vince in as replacement .
Jos Buttler needs a new opening partner.Roy sustained the injury during last week’s 10-run defeat to South Africa. England advanced to the semi-finals despite the loss.