Ball One – Much of limited overs cricket turns on getting the risk-reward decisions right and, in the concentrated format of T20, it’s easy to miss a beat and find yourself on the wrong end of that spectrum. In the five overs from the tenth to the fourteenth, Australia made just 21 runs. With eight wickets in hand for the whole of that passage of play, their batting was too passive, resulting in an under-par score with five men never reaching the crease.
Ball Two – Australia’s batsmen pre-mediated many of their strokes, few of which would be in the cricket manuals of even five years ago, never mind fifty. There’s a case for innovation and for moving the field around, but there’s a case for innovation being the exception rather than the rule. Eoin Morgan played the innings of the match and did so through power applied when necessary, placement applied consistently and a largely orthodox set of strokes. Steven Smith could learn much from Morgan’s approach.
Ball Three – On TestMatchSofa.com, there was some scoffing over my observation that I liked England fielding eleven batsmen (more accurately, eleven men who can bat), but the strategy paid off in the end. It might not have done had the Australian field been set with two men very close to Shahzad to stop the run with the ball at his feet. He was allowed to get off strike too easily in the last over and the astonishingly cool head of debutant Chris Woakes saw England home.
Ball Four – After nine overs both sides had scored 72-2 – so what made the difference at the end? The answer to that question is simply Aaron Finch. He was the only Australian batsman to hit a boundary in the final 11 overs of their innings, and he hit six: England, through one each for Morgan, Wright and Woakes, managed just the three. Finch was ugly but effective, and may be the new Symonds with the bat, if not in the field.
Ball Five – Having criticised Australia’s attention to detail at the end of the first T20I, it’s only right to criticise England’s at the end of the second. Woakes and Bresnan had to attempt the second run off the penultimate ball, unlikely as it was, since that would leave them the chance of hitting a four to take the match to the super over. Failing even to give themselves a crack at that slim chance, was not clever cricket.
Ball Six – Both matches went to the last ball, so the decider should be a thriller… except, there is no decider. Why not play a five match T20 series and a five match ODI series? That’s one more match for the players, but it’s also 80 fewer overs.
The Tooting Trumpet, whom you can often find at Testmatchsofa.com and on Twitter at @garynaylor999 and @Fakeadil.
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