England’s charmed run at home against Australia continued with a five-run win in the sole Twenty20 International in Cardiff.
After a double-strike by Pat Cummins in the fourth over had the hosts in trouble at 2/18, Moeen Ali (72 not out off 46 balls) and captain Eoin Morgan (74 off 39) swung the match with a brilliant 135-run partnership.
Ali steered England through to a solid total of 5/182 after Nathan Coulter-Nile dismissed Morgan. Cummins (2/25 off four overs) and Coulter-Nile (1/24 off four) were the pick of Australia’s bowlers, but Mitch Marsh went for 21 runs off two overs and Shane Watson was clobbered for 33 runs from his 12 deliveries.
Australia’s openers David Warner and Watson were gone within the first two overs of the chase, but Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell steadied the ship with a 112-run stand.
Maxwell was eventually out to fellow spinner and all-rounder Ali for 44 off 32 balls, while Smith powered to 90 off just 53 deliveries before he holed out to the bowling of David Willey.
Is there anything Steve Smith can’t do? He can’t fly! You sure about that? pic.twitter.com/mQizm5ml2h
— Gaurav Kapur (@gauravkapur) August 31, 2015
Needing 18 runs from nine balls after Smith departed, Australia could only reach 8/177 after Coulter-Nile and Cummins were run out in consecutive balls during the final over.
Stud of the day
Morgan smashed seven sixes and Smith’s innings was sublime, but Ali got the nod as man-of-the-match by adding the key wicket of Maxwell to his outstanding unbeaten knock.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) August 31, 2015
Australia were always behind the eight-ball after Warner’s dismissal from the sixth ball of the tourists’ innings, caught off Willey when a thick outside edge ballooned to third man.
Australia will be searching for some belated respite when the world champion outfit begins its five-match ODI series against England on Thursday. The form of Ali and Morgan was an ominous sign for the Aussies, though, and some quality support is needed for perpetual saviour Smith and the dynamic Maxwell.