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Preview: T20 World Cup: Australia vs. England - prediction, team news, series so far

Sports Mole previews the 2024 T20 World Cup match between Australia and England, scheduled to be played at the Kensington Oval on Saturday.

Cricketing powerhouses Australia and England will lock horns in match 17 of the 2024 T20 World Cup at the Kensington Oval in Barbados on Saturday evening.

Group B in this competition is an intriguing one and features the two most recent champions along with three spirited contenders in Namibia, Scotland and Oman.


Match preview

Australia players celebrate with the trophy after winning the ICC Cricket World Cup on November 19, 2023© Reuters

Australia come into the T20 World Cup looking to etch their names in history as the first nation to hold the title in all three formats of the game, having secured the Test Championship and one-day international crown last year.

Despite failing to reach the final four stages of their home T20 World Cup in 2022, the Aussies are one of the favourites in this edition, owing to their track record of performing well in ICC events, while boasting a squad that includes several players in excellent form.

Australia survived a tricky first game in this competition, overcoming a courageous Oman side by 39 runs, with Marcus Stoinis putting in a Man of the Match performance with both bat and ball, top-scoring with 67* while also taking a team-high 3/19 in three overs.

David Warner also delivered with the bat, as Australia totalled a defendable 164/5, while Mitchell Starc was rapid with the new ball, getting it to swing at pace, which will be a massive asset for the Baggy Greens as the tournament progresses.

Andrew McDonald's side have now won seven of their last nine T20Is, including a 2-1 series win over the West Indies in February and a three-match clean sweep of New Zealand directly after that.

England celebrate taking a wicket against Pakistan on May 25, 2024.© Reuters

Meanwhile, England secured a five-wicket victory over Pakistan in the final to clinch their second T20 World Cup title back in 2022, adding to their 2010 triumph, but their defence of their 50-over crown in India last year was a nightmare that saw them eliminated in the group stage.

England's opening match in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024 against Scotland was cut short prematurely. The Scots set England a target of 90, which was adjusted to 109 with DLS at this venue before rain intervened and brought an end to proceedings.

However, 10 overs were bowled in the match and the concerning point from an English perspective would have been that the side were unable to take a wicket and appeared sloppy at times. Mark Wood had a wicket denied due to a no-ball, while Chris Jordan failed to impress as George Munsey and Michael Jones punished his bowling with boundaries.

The abandonment resulted in both sides earning a point apiece from the game, meaning that a loss against Australia on Saturday would likely put massive pressure on England, making the final two games against Namibia and Oman must-win matches for the defending champions.

Jos Buttler will know that his side can ill-afford another sluggish start against the Aussies here and will need to refind the attacking Bazball style that worked so well for them when they surged to the white-ball titles in 2019 (ODI) and 2022 (T20) if they are to stand a chance of successfully defending their crown.


Team News

Australia's Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne during Cricket World Cup final on November 19, 2023.© Reuters

The Aussies dodged an injury scare to strike bowler Mitchell Starc, who pulled up sore after a delivery in his final over last time out. The left-arm paceman was flagged as a minor doubt for this match but was cleared for selection in the week.

Pat Cummins was forced to withdraw from the first match due to an injury, but he is expected to return to the starting lineup for this crucial encounter, with Nathan Ellis being the most likely to drop to the bench to make way for him.

After a match-winning performance in the 50-over World Cup final and an impressive reintroduction into the Indian Premier League, which included a century off just 39 balls, Travis Head is quickly emerging as the key player for Australia and will be looking to make his mark on the competition in this match.

Jofra Archer's return to the England side in the country of his birth during the match against Scotland marked a significant moment, and the paceman will be crucial to the Three Lions' success in the competition if he gets among the wickets.

The batting line-up is expected to remain unchanged, with Buttler and Phil Salt likely to open, followed by Will Jacks, Jonny Bairstow, Harry Brook and Liam Livingstone. Buttler holds the record for the most T20 runs by any player since the beginning of 2023, with the England captain scoring over 50 runs on 22 occasions.


Australia squad: Mitchell Marsh (c), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa

England squad: Jos Buttler (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonathan Bairstow, Harry Brook, Sam Curran, Ben Duckett, Tom Hartley, Will Jacks, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Adil Rashid, Phil Salt, Reece Topley, Mark Wood


Series so far

Australia

Match One: Australia won by 39 runs
Australia - 164/5 (20)
Oman - 125/9 (20)

England

Match One: No result
Scotland - 90/0 (10)
England - DNB


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We say: Australia to win

England have been some way from the sort of form that saw them stride to the title in 2022 and a washed-out tournament opener was far from ideal in helping the side settle their nerves and get a feel for the pitch and conditions.

Australia, on the other hand, have been formidable in all formats over the last couple of years, wrapping up the Test and ODI titles in 2023, and now setting their sights on the T20 crown. We feel the Baggy Greens will be too good for the Three Lions in this one.

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England celebrate taking a wicket against Pakistan on May 25, 2024.
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