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Saturday, September 19, 2020

Jos Buttler masterclass helps England clinch T20I series against Australia

Buttler hit an undefeated 77 off 54 balls in the second T20 with eight fours and two sixes, including the winning runs off Adam Zampa. England finished on 158-4 in 18.5 overs.

By: Reuters | Updated: September 7, 2020 8:23:33 am
Jos Buttler (right) celebrates with Moeen Ali after England's win in the second T20I against Australia, at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, England. (AP Photo)

Opener Jos Buttler advanced down the wicket and smashed a huge six to give England an insurmountable 2-0 lead in the Twenty20 series with a six-wicket win over Australia on Sunday.

Buttler hit an undefeated 77 off 54 balls in the second T20 with eight fours and two sixes, including the winning runs off Adam Zampa.

England finished on 158-4 in 18.5 overs at an empty Rose Bowl.

Top-ranked Australia chose to bat first and lost opener David Warner for a duck before recovering from 3-2 in the second over to reach 157-7. Captain Aaron Finch hit 40 runs off 33 balls, with four boundaries and two sixes, but the visitors’ total always looked within the reach of second-ranked England.

Dawid Malan scored 42 runs off 32 balls for England which still needed 18 runs off the last two overs. Ashton Agar took 2-27.

England beat Australia by two runs in a thrilling first T20 on Friday that went down to the final ball. Chasing 163 to win, Australia collapsed from 124-1 after 14 overs.

The third and final T20 is at Southampton on Tuesday. Australia is playing international cricket for the first time in six months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Buttler’s innings more than made up for England earlier wasting a leg before wicket review after Adil Rashid’s delivery very clearly hit Finch’s bat – and plum in the middle – with Australia at 40-3. Buttler smiled and looked sheepish after England’s review quickly failed.

Jofra Archer bowled England’s last over which proved expensive with 18 runs conceded.

Earlier, Archer only needed three balls to make the breakthrough for England in dismissing Warner. The Australia opener got the faintest of touches on a quick delivery and after Buttler took the catch, he was given out. Warner immediately reviewed but the replay showed sound on ultra edge when the delivery went past his glove to send him on his way.

Australia changed its batting lineup from the first T20 with Alex Carey out at three instead of Steve Smith. The change in order failed to work, with Mark Wood able to find Carey’s edge in the second over of the match. Buttler again claimed a regulation catch to send the wicketkeeper-batsman back for two.

Smith joined Finch out in the middle and the experienced duo had a big job on their hands.

Smith looked to get Australia back on track with a pull for six off Tom Curran but his attempt at a quick single backfired in the final ball of the fifth over. After dropping a shot into the leg side Smith set off, but England captain Eoin Morgan picked up superbly from short mid-wicket and hit with one stump to aim at.

That dismissed Smith for 10 and Australia was 39-3 at the end of the powerplay overs.

Morgan required treatment during the ninth over after he dislocated a finger trying to take a catch. The England captain had to leave the field, but returned once Rashid had completed his over.

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