Australia vs England Twenty 20 World Cup Final Preview and Prediction
They have been the best two teams in the tournament, but both have had significant obstacles to overcome. For England it was the Duckworth Lewis method, which has been shown in this tournament to be wholly inappropriate for T20 cricket. And for Australia it has been their worrying propensity for batting collapses, which got them into trouble against Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and most famously of all Pakistan in a pulsating semi-final. The common denominator in the Australian recovery in each of those games was Michael Hussey who either supported or led his side to a decent total or as on Friday simply exploded runs.
The final is in Barbados, which will delight an Australian team brimming with the fastest bowlers in the tournament and a batting line-up that prefers quick bouncy wickets to slow turners. So, England’s quest to win their first ICC world limited overs tournament is going to be a tough one against a side that is arguably stronger and never knows when it is beaten. For Australia, it is an opportunity to complete their set of ICC trophies and finally prove that it has conquered the T20 format on the world stage.
So how do the teams match up? For what it’s worth, here is our marks out of ten for each of the likely line-ups, with the marks being based on performances in this tournament and potential effectiveness at T20 cricket – so early apologies to Michael Clarke.
David Warner – An explosive keg at the top of the order who if he is in for five overs is likely to set-up a big total and/or a successful run chase for the Aussies. England must get him early – 8
Shane Watson – The cry-baby all-rounder is extremely dangerous with the bat and is another England must get early. His bowling will need to be exploited by England if they are to win – 9
Brad Haddin – Australia’s persistence with Haddin at three nearly cost them in the semi-final. Has a lovely straight drive and can score quickly, but surely David Hussey or Cameron White would be a better bet at three? – 7
Michael Clarke – Despite being a supreme test batsman, the captain is effectively a passenger at T20 cricket. England’s plan should be to get him to the crease and keep him there – 4
David Hussey – A really good T20 player. Scores quickly with the bat and is one of many Australians who can hit it out of the ground. His bowling is underrated and difficult to score off – 8
Cameron White – In our view, White is Australia’s best T20 batsman. Can score sixes at will and has been instrumental in recoveries against Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Should be captain – 9
Michael Hussey – The best limited overs batsman in the world, Hussey is a chameleon. He is a big-hitting Michael Bevan able to play a number of different roles as the situation demands. The supporting act to White against Sri Lanka, the main man against Bangladesh and then the freakish hitting against Pakistan. What a luxury to have him at number seven – 9
Steve Smith – Another one England must target with the ball, Smith has actually done reasonably well in the tournament especially as he is more of a batsman that can bowl than a frontline international leg-spinner. KP could tuck in here – 6
Mitchell Johnson –Johnson’s unpredictability is a strength and a weakness, but England will need to be brave here. If you get after Johnson like Umar Akmal did on Friday, he can get flaky. To have someone this good with the bat at number nine is incredible – 7
Dirk Nannes – Nannes will be looking forward to bowling at England’s opening pair on this Barbados wicket and is a potential match-winner for the Aussies. Can he be part of a winning side against England for the second successive T20 after being the key element of the Netherlands team last year? – 8
Shaun Tait – Tait has been fast, fearsome and quite brilliant in this tournament and England will need to see his opening spell off. Another of Australia’s T20 specialists who will be salivating about the Bridgetown track – 9
Michael Lumb – Has come in from nowhere and done well. His partnership with Kieswetter has been key in setting the tempo for England’s batting. Hasn’t got any big scores but a strike rate of 145 will more than do. Faces a huge test against the new ball pair of Tait and Nannes – 7
Craig Kieswetter – The second part of England’s Batman and Robin opening partnership. Kieswetter has also been impressive, but he will not have faced anything like Tait and Nannes before. If he and Lumb do well, England just could be in business – 7
Kevin Pietersen – Fatherhood obviously sits well with Pietersen. Along with Mahela Jayawardene, he has been the best batsman in the tournament and has played crucial innings in his last three matches. Is England’s key man and the Aussies know it – 10
Paul Collingwood – The captain has had a disappointing tournament with the bat, but England have not needed a typical backs-to-the-wall performance from the skipper yet. The juices will be flowing about facing the Aussies and having the opportunity to be the first England captain to lift an ICC world trophy. We back him to do well if England need him to – 7
Eoin Morgan – The Irishman was brilliant against West Indies and saved England against Ireland, but has not really been required to the same degree since mainly because of KP’s excellence. Australia will be wary of Morgan as when he is in full flow, he is very difficult to set a field to – 9
Luke Wright – A potential area of weakness for England. Wright is not really good enough to bat as high as six, although his big-hitting style can be useful in the final five overs. But what if Tait and Nannes run amok and Wright has to come in by the eighth over? That will be Australia’s plan – 6
Tim Bresnan – Has been reasonably economical with the new ball, but faces a huge test against Warner and Watson. Australia will look to target the doughty Yorkshireman. Capable of adding useful late over runs too – 7
Mike Yardy – Sussex’s opening batsman has proved a useful joker in the pack for England with the ball. But how will he fare against this powerful Australian line-up? It could get very messy. His unorthodox batting could prove useful at number eight – 8
Graeme Swann – Swann will be relishing this and is arguably England’s key man with the ball. His battle with the big hitting Aussie middle order of the Hussey brothers and White could be the key – 9
Stuart Broad – Has really knuckled down in this tournament and has bowled well. Can he produce an inspirational spell to match the one he bowled in the afternoon session of the second day at the Oval? Let’s hope so – 8
Ryan Sidebottom – A controversial pick ahead of Anderson, Sidebottom has showed the value of left-arm pace in T20. His suspect temperament faces a huge test against Warner and Watson – 8
So overall it’s 84 points each, which just goes to show how closely matched these two sides are. Australia arguably has more match-winners and will be supremely confident following the miraculous win over Pakistan. But we take England to win. They were our pick at the start of the tournament and we have to stick with that, but we also believe they have what it takes to triumph – just!
As well as writing regularly for World Cricket Watch, David Green has his own blog entitled The Reverse Sweep, which is updated daily, and writes a twice weekly column for CricDude. You can also follow David on Twitter @TheReverseSweep.
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