Master blaster

But­tler seals win with a six

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Nick Hoult

Jos But­tler watched the ball fly into the sec­ond tier of the Rod Brans­grove Pavil­ion, ad­mir­ing a job well done, per­son­ally and by the team, as his sweetly struck six com­pleted a re­sound­ing Eng­land vic­tory.

Eoin Mor­gan’s team romped to a six-wicket vic­tory with seven balls to spare to win the se­ries, their first in T20 cricket against Aus­tralia. It ren­ders to­mor­row’s game a dead rub­ber as far as the se­ries is con­cerned, but if Eng­land win they will top­ple Aus­tralia as No1 in the T20 rank­ings. Plenty to play for then.

Whereas the vic­tory on Fri­day night was a case of Aus­tralia freez­ing with the game won, this was a com­mand­ing per­for­mance by Eng­land, set up by the pace of Jofra Archer and fin­ished by But­tler, who is trans­fer­ring his fine Test form to his favourite for­mat of the game.

Archer and But­tler are two of the world’s big­gest T20 names and why

Eng­land will be strong can­di­dates to win this for­mat’s World Cup next year. They are con­fi­dent, nat­u­ral per­form­ers ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing feats be­yond oth­ers, giv­ing Mor­gan be­lief his team can win from any po­si­tion.

But­tler’s 77 off 54 balls was a com­bi­na­tion of big hit­ting and pre­cise place­ment all around the wicket, us­ing the depth of his crease to hit york­ers for four, mak­ing it im­pos­si­ble for Aaron Finch to plug the gaps and de­fend his team’s be­low-par 157 for seven.

Eng­land coasted for most of their run chase, eas­ing to 106 for two with an 87-run stand off 63 balls be­tween But­tler and the con­sis­tent Dawid Malan. But when Malan fell for 42, and Tom Ban­ton and Mor­gan per­ished try­ing to force the pace against the spin­ners, mem­o­ries of Aus­tralia’s col­lapse came flood­ing back.

With 18 needed off two overs, Eng­land were wob­bling ever so slightly, but Moeen Ali shrugged off the pres­sure to slot Adam Zampa for a straight six and a four to leave But­tler clear to swing with­out fear and whack the win­ning six.

The sight of Aus­tralian bats­men hop­ping around against high-class pace was en­cour­ag­ing for fu­ture en­gage­ments. David Warner was

out in the first over as Archer tucked him up for room and the ball flicked the glove on the way through to But­tler for a duck that a full house would have loved.

Aus­tralia were jumpy, Finch was al­most run out be­fore scor­ing tak­ing a risky sin­gle and Archer was burn­ing rub­ber, send­ing the ball down at 95.8mph in his sec­ond over.

With Mark Wood at the other end close to match­ing Archer’s pace and re­mov­ing Alex Carey for two, this was en­gross­ing stuff. Minds drifted in­evitably to the Gabba next year, where Eng­land would love these two to be op­er­at­ing at full pelt in an Ashes Test.

Archer has been re­ju­ve­nated in these T20s, eas­ing into his groove im­me­di­ately, bowl­ing more than 90mph and look­ing con­fi­dent. His york­ers, slower balls and sheer pace make him the full T20 pack­age. Not bowl­ing be­hind James An­der­son and Stu­art Broad, helps. He looks a foot taller, play­ing for a cap­tain who gives him max­i­mum re­spon­si­bil­ity with the new ball and death overs.

With Wood dis­miss­ing Carey with an­other quick de­liv­ery, Aus­tralia were in trou­ble at three for two. Steve Smith pinched a bound­ary when Ban­ton dived over the ball at deep mid­wicket, but more brain­less cricket cost them as he took a silly sin­gle to mid-on, from where Mor­gan ran him out.

Strik­ing with the new ball had been Eng­land’s weak­ness in T20, but here Aus­tralia were 30 for three af­ter six overs and never re­cov­ered.

Mor­gan was ex­cel­lent in the field and brave, too. His tac­ti­cal de­ci­sions were spot on, seem­ingly mov­ing field­ers into the right place for catches, such as Mar­cus Stoi­nis’s edge off Adil Rashid to a slip he had just sta­tioned there. His bowl­ing changes brought suc­cess, bring­ing on Chris Jor­dan for the 19th over to re­move a charg­ing Glenn Maxwell.

It came at a per­sonal cost. Mor­gan dis­lo­cated a fin­ger on his right hand div­ing at cover. It was time to look away as the physio pulled it back into po­si­tion. He swal­lowed a cou­ple of painkiller­s and was soon back out di­rect­ing play.

Jonny Bairstow gifted his wicket dis­lodg­ing the bail on his down­swing play­ing a hook to Mitchell Starc, but Malan is keep­ing Joe Root out of the side for a rea­son. Once past dou­ble fig­ures he ac­cel­er­ates with pow­er­ful, ortho­dox shots, and his 42 came off 32 balls.

Ash­ton Agar’s two quick wick­ets, Malan caught at deep mid­wicket and Ban­ton off a sweep, turned out to be blips that But­tler shrugged off.

Over and out: Jos But­tler clears the ropes as he car­ries his bat for 77 to wrap up Eng­land’s win in the sec­ond Twenty20 in­ter­na­tional against Aus­tralia, and with it the se­ries

Plea­sure That came af­ter a fine ef­fort in the field, summed up by Eoin Mor­gan’s run-out of Steve Smith

Spoils of bat­tle: Jos But­tler shows off his man-of-the­match award af­ter his dy­namic in­nings Pain And that was even more im­pres­sive as Mor­gan had dis­lo­cated a fin­ger

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