Australia eye winning end to home summer


9 February, 2018 19:00 PM

Australia eye winning end to home summer

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A rejuvenated Australia will be aiming to finish their home summer on a high in the Twenty20 tri-series clash against England at the MCG on Saturday.

Impressively overcoming their recent limited-overs travails, Australia has started the tri-series with stirring victories over New Zealand and England, two higher ranked teams. A new look Australia has played with considerably more zest as a slew of newcomers have added a healthy dose of energy to a team ranked a lowly No. 7 in the T20I rankings.

Against England in game two, Australia needed veteran Glenn Maxwell to tap into his bag of tricks in a match-winning all-round performance in Hobart. Maxwell's brilliant century ensured Australia chased successfully despite some top-order stutters headlined by a failure to captain David Warner continuing a notable dip in form since the Ashes.

Ominously for opponents, Australia's explosive opening partnership of Warner and D'Arcy Short haven't fired and one feels the Australian skipper is itching to end an extended form drought in the Twenty20 arena.

In Hobart, Australia stacked the batting with the inclusion of Travis Head but Maxwell's handy offspin, which yielded three wickets, ensured their decision to overload didn't backfire. After frustratingly being unable to find the right combinations in the 50-over arena, Australia have seemingly found a winning formula in the shortest format.

For England, the five-wicket defeat was a disappointing result after their stranglehold over Australia in the One-Day International series. Granted, England have also rested several key players but they have impressive depth in white-ball cricket and were keen to continue their burgeoning momentum.

Having so impressively showcased their audacious batting in the 50-over format, England's ultra-aggressive mantra backfired in Hobart during a mid-innings implosion marked by recklessness. After a strong start where they appeared headed for an imposing score over 200, England tumbled through an unwavering bout of misguided slogs.

As pragmatic captain Eoin Morgan acknowledged, England's bold strategy is risky and fraught with danger in limited-overs cricket - particularly T20Is - where the margins of error are narrow. Sceptics remain and pressure could heighten on the brains trust if England endure a poor tri-series, which will shift to New Zealand after game three.

The match will end an arduous and often tumultuous 14-week tour for England, who will want to end their campaign Down Under on a high note.

With the highpoint of the cricket season over, the tri-series has only generated lukewarm interest but Australia will be aiming to ensure their final hit out this summer in front of the faithful is entertaining and, ultimately, successful.