Mike Hussey's 51-ball 71 goes in vain as England emerges winners by 9 runs
England, the defending champions who were fresh from a series-levelling win in the third Twenty20 International against South Africa on September 13, took little time to get into its groove with an impressive nine-run victory against Australia in its first warm-up game at the ICC World Twenty20, played at the Nondescripts Cricket Club.
Alex Hales set the tone with a typically aggressive 38-ball 52 in the company of Luke Wright, promoted to No. 3, after England was sent in to bat. The second-wicket stand was worth 88 runs in just 9.3 overs, with Wright contributing 35 runs, as England looked set for a total close to 200.
However, Australia had the much needed breakthroughs when Brad Hogg's double-strike stopped the run flow for a brief while. Hogg, the oldest player in the tournament at 41, accounted for the wickets of Hales and Wright as England slipped from 103 for one to 110 for three in the 15th over.
Eoin Morgan, one of the architects of England's triumph at the World Twenty20 2010, played an enterprising knock of 30 off just 16 balls, with four boundaries and a six, to help England cross the 150 mark. The finishing touch was provided by Jonny Bairstow with a quickfire 18.
For Australia, Hogg and Mitchell Starc picked up two wickets apiece, while Shane Watson had one.
Chasing 173, Australia was rocked early when David Warner was dismissed for a duck in the very first over. That didn't stop from Watson and Michael Hussey from counter-attacking as they put together 74 runs for the second wicket at a little more than 10 an over to bring the chase back on track.
England's decision to introduce spin paid dividends immediately as Graeme Swann dismissed Watson for 37. Watson's innings consisted of one four and three sixes. Hussey, who took over the role of an anchor following Watson's dismissal, took Australia towards the doorstep of victory with a crucial 42-run stand for the fourth wicket with Glenn Maxwell (18), the all-rounder, before being trapped in front by Stuart Broad, the England captain. That left Australia at 140 for four in the 17th over.
England then got George Bailey (3), the captain, and Maxwell in successive overs, to leave Australia needing 22 off the last over. It proved too steep an ask for Mathew Wade and Daniel Christian, who could only manage 12.