England have handed Australia a crushing eight-wicket defeat in their Twenty20 World Cup match in Dubai.
Opener Jos Buttler finished unbeaten on 71 as England chased down the meagre target of 126 inside 12 overs as they spanked the Australian attack to all parts of the ground with apparent ease to boost their net run rate even higher and all but assure themselves of a place in the tournament semi-finals.
Buttler’s performance with the bat came on the back of an excellent effort with the ball.
England’s complete and well-rounded performance was everything Australia’s was not.
While England found it easy with the bat, Australia struggled and were bowled out on the final ball of their 20 overs when Mitchell Starc feathered an edge to wicketkeeper Buttler off the bowling of Tymal Mills.
Australia’s bowlers were hardly the ones at fault in the poor performance, the top order failed in spectacular fashion after being sent in to bat.
Having navigated through the opening over from spinner Adil Rashid to be 0-6, things were looking decent for Australia but then came the England quicks and the top order collapse.
Chris Woakes was the first quick to grab the new ball and he was almost unplayable, moving the ball in the air and off the seam and it took just two balls before he had David Warner for 1.
Warner hung the bat at a ball going across him and edged it to Buttler to start the rot.
Steve Smith got off the mark promptly but got himself out for 1 as he tried to pull a short ball from well outside off stump off the bowling off Chris Jordan (3-17) and Woakes took a brilliant one-handed catch at mid-on.
Glenn Maxwell strode to the crease full of intent, made 6 runs then strode back off after Woakes (2-23) trapped him leg before. Maxwell reviewed the decision but ball tracking showed it smashing into leg stump.
Australia finally survived an over without losing a wicket but recorded the worst powerplay of the tournament so far to be 3-21 off six overs, an innings later and England had the best, they were 0-66 after six overs.
The collapse continued when Marcus Stoinis was trapped LBW without scoring, seemingly desperate he reviewed, but like Maxwell he too was found to be plumb as Rashid took his first wicket.
As his fellow batsmen disappeared with regularity opener Aaron Finch played the role of an anchor on his way to an innings of 44.
Finch combined with the tail to give Australia some chance as Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins and Starc all came to the crease determined to hit England’s bowlers into the stands.
All did with Agar hitting Australia’s first six in the 17th over before Cummins came to the crease and hit two sixes off his first two balls before Jordan bowled him with a beautiful yorker.
It was certainly not Australia’s day and put England in the box seat in Group 1. With all teams having played three matches they have won all their matches so far with Australia and South Africa holding 2-1 records but after being thumped by England Australia’s net run rate dropped to -0.63 which moveed South Africa ahead of them.
Sri Lanka and West Indies are both 1-2 and Bangladesh are 0-3 and out of contention for the semi-finals.
England will next play Sri Lanka while the Proteas and South Africa both next play Bangladesh.