England vs. Australia, 2nd T20I - Heroes of the day
After Aaron Finch’s brutal assault at the Ageas Bowl in the first T20I, England needed to regroup quickly and come back stronger in the two-match series before the ODIs commenced.
They did just that with aplomb; emerging victors at Chester-le-Street by 27 runs and thus squaring the series to deny Aussie skipper George Bailey his first series win as captain.
Batting first, England racked up a total of 195/5 in their 20 overs, before restricting the Kangaroos to 168/9.
Here are the heroes of the day:
Alex Hales (94 runs off 61 balls – 11 fours, 2 sixes; 1 catch)
The 24-year old Middlesex player gave his side a flying start in the company of Michael Lumb, as he smashed the Australian bowling to all corners of the park. He went for his shots from the word go, hitting boundaries off every bowler, and peppered his innings with two huge sixes – one each off James Faulkner and Mitchell Johnson.
Hales fell agonizingly short of a century when he tried to loft Faulkner over long-on, but only managed to spoon a catch to David Warner. Ironically, during Australia’s chase, he caught Warner at sweeper cover off Jade Dernbach. For his performance with the bat, Hales deservedly won the Man of the Match award.
David Warner (1 catch; 53 runs off 42 balls – 5 fours, 3 sixes)
The pocket-sized dynamo did not have a good time in the recently-concluded Ashes, but his performance in the outfield has been superb. He took a good tumbling catch to remove the dangerous Hales and then got Australia off to a rapid start despite losing opening partner Finch early.
Warner struck five boundaries and three powerful sixes – he deposited Steven Finn into the long-off stands first, then lofted Dernbach over long-on, and finally carted left-arm spinner Danny Briggs straight down the ground for his third maximum.
But Dernbach had the last laugh; his slower delivery forced Warner to play uppishly into sweeper cover, where Hales took a fine catch, thus effectively signalling the beginning of Australia’s eventual collapse.
Jade Dernbach (3/23 in 4 overs)
The South African-born Surrey seamer took three wickets in the first game, and turned in a similar performance this time as well. He removed the free-scoring Warner with a slower delivery to get things started, and then dismissed Glenn Maxwell just as the batsman was threatening to run away with the game.
In the 18th over of Australia’s innings, Dernbach picked up his third wicket by having Faulkner out to a brilliant catch by Eoin Morgan at backward point. He is truly a good find for England in the limited-overs version of the game.
Fawad Ahmed (3/25 in 4 overs; 3* off 5 balls)
Persecuted in his home country for playing cricket and for his work with an NGO that aimed to educate women around the NWFP, leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed applied for and was granted permanent residency in Australia in late 2012. In July 2013, he became an Australian citizen, and made his full debut in T20 internationals at the Ageas Bowl against England in the first game of the series.
At Chester-le-Street, Fawad broke the 111-run opening stand between Hales and Lumb when he had the latter top-edge a tossed-up delivery to wicket-keeper Matthew Wade. He then foxed Jos Buttler with a delivery on leg stump, beating him with the turn and hitting the timber.
And with the fourth ball of his final over, the leg spinner removed Morgan to a well-taken catch by seamer Nathan Coulter-Nile at mid-wicket. He remained not out in Australia’s unsuccessful run-chase, finishing on 3 runs from 5 balls.
Eoin Morgan (20 runs from 11 balls – 2 sixes; 1 catch)
England’s T20 specialist, and master of scoring in the slog overs, smashed two sixes to take his side closer to the 200-run mark before becoming Fawad Ahmed’s third international wicket. He then did a Jonty Rhodes –flying over backward point to catch Faulkner’s top-edged pull; the ball was going away from him and he went after it anyway.