TREVOR BAYLISS: Sorry but I fancy the three Australian quicks to rattle England’s batsmen in blockbuster World T20 showdown… Jos Buttler is the big wicket and England NEED to move Moeen Ali and Liam Livingstone up the order
- England’s game with Australia is set up to be a blockbuster World T20 clash
- Australia’s three quick bowlers have the potential to rattle England’s batsman
- Neither batting line-up is firing but England’s hopes are reliant on Jos Buttler
- There is a strong case to promote Moeen Ali and Liam Livingstone up the order
I did say I feared that the La Nina weather pattern we are experiencing here in Australia would have an impact on this World Cup. What it has done so far is help produce upsets, with the lesser sides having more of a chance, particularly in shortened games.
It would have been interesting to see what would have happened the other night when Ireland pulled off one of those upsets against England had the rain not come. Moeen Ali was starting to go off and could easily have pulled it out of the bag given a few more balls.
But what England’s defeat has done is set up a blockbuster against Australia on Friday. There is all to play for and the loser knows defeat would almost certainly be it for them.
The wet weather with La Nina is helping lesser sides to produce upsets in games
England’s defeat to Ireland has set up a huge blockbuster clash against Australia on Friday
Australia are not playing with their usual confidence and it has been that way for a while now. They had a disjointed lead into the tournament and were trying out different combinations right up to the start of the World Cup when that was the time they should have been giving their first choice XI as much game time as possible.
It wasn’t perfect preparation and they were heavily beaten in their first match against New Zealand which has left them up against it on Friday, even though they defeated Sri Lanka.
England bowled too short against Ireland, perhaps getting carried away by the pace and bounce we have seen in the Melbourne wickets over the last few years.
Interestingly, the old curator from the WACA is in charge at the MCG now and you can see his influence in the way he prepares his pitches.
If England find the right lengths we know they can create havoc for batters with their movement but, then again, so can the three big quicks from Australia. It could be whichever side finds that right length first will come out on top.
Jos Buttler is England’s key man and his early dismissal against Ireland put pressure on others
Neither batting line-up are setting the world alight either. It is difficult to put a finger on exactly why but Jos Buttler is the big wicket and when he went cheaply against Ireland it put pressure on those following him. England might want to get Moeen and Liam Livingstone a bit higher up their order today. You do not want to panic after one defeat but in a world tournament you cannot afford to make it two and experience does count at a time like this.
I’m sure Harry Brook has a big future but at the moment he looks a bit under pressure and that is only going to increase against Australia.
His position might be the only change England contemplate or perhaps they lift Moeen and Livingstone above him.
Australia have batting issues of their own. Captain Aaron Finch is out of form. And when the captain is under pressure that puts pressure on the rest of the team. I would not go as far as suggesting Finch should leave himself out but I do think, as I said in these pages before the tournament, that Australia are missing a trick by not having Steve Smith in their side. When Smith was younger he scored runs in T20 cricket quickly. But since he was given the role of batting one end with the rest of the team batting around him he has not been as successful.
England’s batting, usually so reliable, is currently not setting the world alight after two games
There is a strong argument to push both Liam Livingstone and Moeen Ali up the batting order
The poor form of Australian captain Aaron Finch is a huge concern for his side ahead of Friday
I would get him in there somewhere if I was Australia but it would be a big surprise if they did so. Perhaps the only one they will consider is to recall Adam Zampa as long as he is over his sickness.
It is Australia’s home World Cup and they are the defending champions so they will be bitterly disappointed to go out in the group stage. But they can turn it around pretty quickly — as can England. When I was with England we would have a poor loss and often would hit back with a strong performance and there is no reason why that cannot happen again today.
A loss often sparks something of a response in the best teams.
But I’m going to have to go with Australia. The three big quicks in Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood got their lengths right in Perth and if they do it again, with the pace and bounce in Melbourne, they could have the edge. I would not be surprised if England prove me wrong but I fancy Australia.