T20 World Cup: Eoin Morgan says Jos Buttler is 'changing the game' after Australia blitz

Wicketkeeper batsman stars as England savage old rivals at Dubai International Stadium

When the end came, all it was was a placid push through the off side by Jonny Bairstow, followed by a gentle jaunt for one to the cover fence.

It spoke little of what had gone before. Until then, it can been nothing but carnage, with Jos Buttler launching a series of violent shots into the stands, each seemingly further than the one before.

England ended up beating Australia by eight wickets with 50 balls to spare at the Dubai International Stadium. Their delighted supporters sang football songs, and declared it was “easy, easy, easy!” Which it was. That, and brutal.

Such has been the way of this T20 World Cup so far for England. After three matches, they have yet to be tested. They have won three, and have the remarkable net run-rate of +3.95.

Their dominance over their old rivals was complete, with Buttler belittling an attack made up of some of the finest bowlers in cricket, as he made 71 not out in 32 balls.

“I think he is one of our players – and there are a few of them – who are at the forefront of changing the game,” Eoin Morgan, England’s captain, said of Buttler.

“He is one of the best players in the world, but he is still trying to improve his game and get better against every single bowler that he faces.

“It is not just targeting bowlers who might suit him, it is every bowler. When you have guys who are at the forefront on change within the game, taking the game forward, it says a lot about the guy.”

Buttler scored England’s fastest ever one-day international century at this ground in 2015, against Pakistan.

He might have done the same in the T20 format this time around, too, if only he had had more runs to play with.

As it was, England had blown Australia’s batting away to the extent their run-chase was a breeze. Australia were bowled out for 125 off the last ball of their 20 overs.

“Coming into the game, you always expect a tough test against Australia, but I thought we bowled brilliantly again,” Morgan said.

“We put Australia under pressure, and created opportunities earlier than we have done in the past. It goes to show how well we have bowled.”

England’s players might not even be thinking it. Their football-playing equivalents probably deem it a burden, too. But when the strains of “Three Lions” reverberated around the stands just four overs in to the game, their supporters could easily have been forgiven for agreeing.

Even that early in the piece – with Australia already 15-3 - and this early in the tournament, there were signs that cricket might be coming home.

Certainly in this meeting, it was never going anywhere but England’s way. The contrast in the two side’s respective Powerplays emphasised the point. Australia made 21-3 from theirs, and that became 21-4 one ball later.

England made 66 for no loss from their first six overs. By the end of that phase, Buttler had eased into top gear, savaging Mitchell Starc in the process.

He hit a 94-metre six into the top tier at the Sports City End of the ground. The very next ball went a yard further in the same region.

In going to his half-century, off his 25th delivery, he hit Adam Zampa for a straight six that was measured at 102 metres.

He and his batting colleagues had been given licence to thrill the crowds because of England’s excellence with the ball.

Chris Woakes’ figures of 2-23 included a final over which went for 16. Chris Jordan took 3-17. Adil Rashid went for just 17 from his four overs, and he essentially ended Australia’s resistance with the wicket of Marcus Stoinis.

Defeat leaves Australia behind South Africa in the group, and facing must-win fixtures against Bangladesh and West Indies to maintain their hopes of a semi-final place.

Updated: October 30th 2021, 6:04 PM
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