Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester
Date: Friday, September 11, 2020
The best way to look at the form for this series is to see how the other white ball version of the game went when England and Australia clashed three times last week in T20Is.
The first match in Manchester saw England rattle of 162 runs from their 20 overs after they were put in to bat. Australia came close to running down a score that seemed well within their reach – in part due to a fine 58 from David Warner – but finished two runs short of the total that would have forced a Super Over. Australia again won the toss for the second match, this time electing to bat first and putting up a chaseable 157. England settled into the match quickly and won with seven balls to spare behind an unbeaten 77 from Jos Buttler.
Needing a win to avoid a series whitewash in the format, Australia chose to field after again winning the toss in the third T20I at the Rose Bowl. The bowling was the best it had been in the series as England were held to just 145 runs in their innings. Australia’s chase was steady and they did just enough as they hit 146/5 with three balls to spare.
England will be very close to full strength for this series after Jason Roy has been added to the squad following a side strain. Eon Morgan looks to have recovered from a dislocated finger, while Buttler will be back and available for selection after being allowed to rest for the final game of the T20I series – a game in which England clearly needed his bat. This means that Ben Stokes – still with his ailing father in New Zealand – is the only expected regular to be missing from contention.
There is also a change in the reserves as Joe Denly has returned to his county to take part in the Vitality Blast. He is replaced by Dawid Malan, with Phil Salt and Saqib Mahmood also providing cover for the 14-strong squad of first-choice players. Malan – the current No. 1 ranked T20i batsman – would be an interesting spectacle if he is called into the squad and suits up during this ODI series. England’s fielding will have to improve here as it was patchy – at best – during the series.
Australian fast bowler Josh Hazlewood has said that the momentum is on the side of the tourists heading into this one as they picked up that win in the final T20i matchup. Australia will be looking for some form of payback from the last time these two met in the World Cup semi-final – a game in which they were crushed unceremoniously by England.
Australia will be looking to the steady hands of Aaron Finch to help guide them to a win here. He and Warner – a player who excels at the ODI game – will need to be at their best to help pick up a side full of players with big names that didn’t produce for one reason or another during the T20i series.
Expect overcast weather here with the pacemen allowed to shine due to the bounce of the wicket. Look for a score of around 200 as the batsmen attack to get on top and given whoever bats first a target to defend. I like Australia to pick up the win here and with odds of 1.00 with BetXChange they are worth a flutter.