England ran into the Big Show in Hobart, as a Glenn Maxwell hundred lifted Australia to victory in their Trans-Tasman Series T20 clash.
Maxwell, dubbed the Big Show, deserves tremendous credit for his ton, as he was given scant support, but he rode his luck with a dropped catch and a controversial DRS call, and England were their own worst enemies with the bat.
Whether it be 50 overs or 20 overs, Eoin Morgan’s England adopt a death-or-glory approach. With so many gun batsmen in the side, the policy is to go hard from ball one and if wickets fall, go hard again. It is an approach that when effective puts them above all other sides in world cricket, but it can backfire and could hamper them at the big tournaments that are on the horizon.
England were the best side in last year’s ICC Champions Trophy, with their firebrand blend of cricket leaving opposition teams in tatters. They beat Bangladesh, New Zealand and Australia in the group stage, but their batsmen faltered badly in the semi-finals and were eliminated by Pakistan.
It appears Morgan’s side will continue with their cavalier approach, but it undid them in their first match of the Tri-Series.
After being sent in to bat, England were well placed at 60 for 1 and then 93 for 2, but a flurry of wickets set them back. Instead of a short period of consolidation, England kept pressing for boundaries and they were eventually restricted to 155 for 9 – a target that looked well below par.
David Willey, who was guilty of a rush of blood with the bat, claimed two wickets in his opening over to raise England spirits. But Maxwell blended brutal hitting with exceptional timing to put Australia on the front foot.
But before seeing his side over the line, Maxwell was given a couple of lives. The first was entirely of England’s making, as Alex Hales spilled a routine catch at square leg. The second was down to technology, as Jason Roy appeared to claim a low catch at long off, but Maxwell stood his ground and the third umpire felt there was enough doubt to give the batsman a life.
Maxwell did not need a third chance as he steered his side home with nine balls to spare, and deservedly brought up his hundred with a six to win the match.
Australia now look well placed to reach the final, following an earlier win over New Zealand. For England, they will get a second shot at Australia on Saturday, but their chances of making the final rest on getting the better of New Zealand in two games next week.