This series between hosts England and Australia has a lot of context with respect to the upcoming IPL season. Many players from both sides are integral parts of various IPL franchises.
Fancy11 starts with the visitors. Australia have won nine of their last ten games in the T20I format but with all of this COVID-19 scenario, momentum hardly means anything.
They have named a combined 21-member squad for both the T20I as well as the ODI series. They come with a full-strength squad with all their experienced players, along with some new faces who have done well in the Big Bash that have earned them a national call-up.
Glenn Maxwell has last played a T20 international match for Australia back in October 2019. However, in a recent exchange with the media, the all-rounder pointed out that he doesn’t want the Aussie batting line-up to be defined by the top three and is willing to take additional responsibilities with the bat.
His performances in the one-off 50 over Intra squad warm-up fixture backs up his statement, where Maxi has scored a century while chasing.
Speaking of the top three, Australia fans will gleefully accept the prospect of watching their best batsmen in Aaron Finch, David Warner and Steve Smith. These three have been dominant forces of the successful run that the Kangaroos have enjoyed in limited overs during the past 12-15 months.
But they will be in action for the first time since the pandemic break. If they can click together at the top, things will be very easy for the visiting side and there won’t be a more welcome sight for the Australian fans.
The opposition bowling department has been made stronger by the inclusion of Jofra Archer. His only T20I apperance however was back in May 2019, when he broke into the international and England scheme of things just before their victorious World Cup campaign. The battle between Jofra Archer and the strong Australian batting will be one to savour.
Jos Butler returns to the England camp as well, after being the frontline keeping option for the Test side during the series against West Indies and Pakistan. The destructive keeper batsman is England’s first choice opener when all top players are available. Now that Jason Roy has opted out of this series and the IPL, that comes as disappointing news for the Delhi Capitals fans, Jonny Bairstow will be slotted to open the proceedings with Butler at the top.
That leaves only one spot left around Captain Morgan in the English middle order with two players vying for it – one being the young Tom Banton who’s impressed one and all in the recently concluded T20I series against Pakistan – scoring close to 140 runs in only three games.
The other is the experienced Dawid Malan who has an impeccable record in his brief T20I career so far. Return of Jos Butler means one of these two players will have to be benched.
Marcus Stoinis last played a T20 game for Australia back in February 2019 but has enjoyed a rich vein of form in T20s ever since. His all-round performance in one of the warm-up games where he got an 87 at a strike rate of more than 120 and scalped four wickets will be taken into consideration by the selectors while looking for back-up players.
For all those excited fantasy app users, regular fantasy cricket money app players – this is the clash of the titans as both teams look very strong and promise high class cricket.
Eoin Morgan, while addressing the media, said that the England cricket team’s greatest happiness is in defeating Australia. The last time when the Aussies visited English shores for a limited overs tour was back in 2018 when the home side smashed the second string Australia team 5-0 in the ODI series.
In the words of Australia Head Coach Justin Langer, the Australian team that toured England that time in June 2018 was at the expense of a terrible error of judgment in South Africa earlier that year. It was an inexperienced and young side without the likes of David Warner and Steve Smith that were suddenly asked to deliver in top flight cricket. Understandably the young crop of players failed and did that miserably.
There will be vengeance of sorts in the minds of the senior Australia players, and the coaching staff after that humiliating loss.
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Here are some valuable tips before the first T20I match that will be played between the two teams in Southampton –
- Opening options galore
David Warner will partner Aaron Finch in opening the batting response from the visiting sides. While their calibre can never be questioned, it’s only normal to expect them take some time before hitting their straps.
England’s Jonny Bairstow hasn’t been able to put up an innings of substance in the few opportunities at the top against the Pakistani bowling attack. He will be hoping for the law of averages to catch up and come up with a big contribution.
Jos Butler has struggled with his batting in the longest format of the game but his T20 batting credentials are undoubtedly one of the best in the current generation. A couple of good Test knocks in the end of the series against Pakistan will help boost his morale and don’t be surprised if he starts unleashing all those breathtakingly unorthodox shots that leave spectators in awe.
- The big-hitting Aussie all-rounders
Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis have been very successful in the last year’s Big Bash season with both bat and ball. Maxwell, with the captaincy responsibility for Melbourne Stars, did everything – from bowling in the powerplay to finishing matches with the bat. Marcus Stoinis had a memorable season opening the batting for the side. The burly character scored almost 800 runs at the top and played a vital role in the Stars campaign that saw his team reach the finals.
While Stoinis might not get a look in the first XI – he has done a lot to enforce a case for himself and his inclusion will certainly bolster the all-rounder department of the visitors.
England, in the other hand, have a talented bunch of all-rounders in their squad but none of them have as much international experience as Glenn Maxwell. But the home advantage will come in as a huge benefit that just adds to all the thrill.
- Pace Battery
Both sides possess a menacing pace attack. Archer’s face-off with Steve Smith in the Ashes series last year was nothing less than hostile.
But Australia are walking into the contest with the likes of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins spearheading their fast-bowling department.
You would want to go as far as giving them the edge against the likes of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood who are almost certain starters for the hosts in the fast-bowling category, given their vast international experience and penetration.
- Players that could make a difference
Australia keeper batsman, Alex Carey has scored a half century and backed it up with a century performance in two consecutive warm-up games preceding the series. He has always been a player flying under the radar with all these high-profile names around him.
He has proved to be a highly effective middle order batsman for the Aussies in the past couple of years, coming up with valuable contributions in crucial phases of the game. Not to forget his crafty keeping skills as well, being very sharp.
Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar have owned the spin bowling roles for the visitors. While the former can also add handy runs lower down the order, Zampa has been going through a good patch where batsmen have struggled to keep up with his variations and guise.
Even in the absence of their champion player in Ben Stokes, and apart from their skipper, England have enough match winners in their side looking for the right amount of opportunities to go out and express themselves.
The Curran brothers – in Sam and Tom – have been included and have proved they can make quite an impact in the game, both with bat and ball. Even though the elder brother in Tom has been preferred more in this format, Sam Curran has made full use of the chances given to him.
Fancy11 Fantasy Team
- David Warner
- Jonny Bairstow
- Steve Smith
- Eoin Morgan
- Alex Carey
- Moeen Ali
- Ashton Agar
- Pat Cummins
- Mitchell Starc
- Jofra Archer
- Adil Rashid
Fantasy games need deep understanding and an acumen of not only know how the game works but also the rules while building your team – it gets increasingly difficult to put up the side with all the star players given all the restrictions of roles and a set purse amount.
There are names who whose performances we haven’t discussed in detail but can make a play a role as decisive, if not more, as all the others with the game always throwing unexpected surprises our way. The format is such that fortunes can change like a see-saw and on days when there’s so little seperating the two sides – it can get slightly harsh for the losing team.
If we have our headaches making our own little teams while using fantasy apps, imagine the plight of Eoin Morgan who has a happy problem, but a problem nonetheless with so many candidates rising their hands for limited spots in the team. Tough decisions are to be made everywhere.
In another world without the COVID-19, this series would been of utmost importance with the T20 World Cup scheduled for an October start this year and the two sides would be finalising their combinations before the mega event. But times have changed, so have scenarios – it is the IPL that will be followed that adds all the relevance to this battle.
With this being a three-match T20I series, a loss in the opening encounter will put tremendous amount of pressure on the team that find themselves in the receiving end as it means they will have to win both the remaining matches if they are to bag the series.
Irrespective of the team carrying the favourites tag, Morgan said it might even be the Australian side as they bring their full-fledged squad, things will only spice up as we go further into the series.
With empty stands, don’t be mistaken into believing that the intensity won’t be there. In Australia captain Aaron Finch’s words – just the prospect of playing against England will prove to be enough motivation for their side to keep going, despite having all these new changes that can take a mental toll on players.
Will another failure of an English player in the opening game of the series lead to changes in the combination for Morgan and Co.? Or will we see Australia taking a bit too much of time to get things right after returning to international cricket after almost six months when they were dominating the Kiwis back home.
New series, new conditions, unprecedented times. We might be treated to a spectacle where all players don’t show any signs of rust as even the Australian side has spent a considerable amount of time now in UK where they have observed and obeyed all the bio-secure bubble rules and done their part of training and warm-ups.
There is a great sense of eagerness attached to this uncertainty as we fasten our seat belts for this rollercoaster ride with some of the best players on show in the most fast-paced format of the beautiful game, which is cricket.