Having stolen the first game right under Australia’s nose and having outclassed the visitors in the second, England will head into the 3rd T20 eyeing two things: a whitewash and the number one ranking. A victory over their arch-rivals on Tuesday will catapult England to the top of the T20I rankings.
Australia - L L W L W
Overcoming a psychological weakness in sport can be a nightmare and Australia are currently experiencing the same, first-hand. The Kangaroos have astonishingly lost 13 of their last 15 white-ball games versus England, dating back to Jan 2018, and the first two T20s of this series have projected that Australia are nowhere close to conquering their demons. They will walk into this contest still ranked as the number one T20 side in the world, yes, but given the kind of battering they’ve received at the hands of England, especially of late, they might need to magically morph into the golden Australian side of the mid-2000s to stand a chance against the English (psychological) juggernaut.
England - W W L W W
England being ranked the number one side in T20 cricket just feels right, for some reason, and on Tuesday, they will have the chance to claim what they feel belongs to them: the number one ranking. And what better, sweeter way to do so than by beating your fiercest rival? After pulling off a heist in game one, Eoin Morgan’s men pummeled the visitors in game two and encore of the 2nd T20I, one feels, will be more than enough for the hosts to whitewash their rivals. There is one complication though - they will have to do it without the services of Jos Buttler, who has left the bio-bubble for family reasons. That said, such has been their psychological dominance over the Aussies that one feels England would walk away with a win even if they fielded their Lions team.
Australia - Aaron Finch
Twice in two games, Finch has busted after threatening to go big but come Tuesday, he will have one more opportunity to hurt the English side. The skipper has, by far, been the most assured Aussie batsman in this series and heading into this encounter, he will take confidence from the fact that in both games, it was his own misjudgement that cost him his wicket. There is a reason why Finch averages close to 40 in T20Is and he did showcase glimpses of his best in the first two games. England will also be wary of the Victorian’s threat, with him averaging a ludicrous 63.87 in 11 T20Is versus them. With Warner and Maxwell in not-so-great touch, runs from Finch’s bat will be imperative for Australia’s victory.
England - Eoin Morgan
Jos Butler's absence means that skipper Eoin Morgan takes up his place as England's key batsman and there’s every reason for him to be in this section. Sure, Morgan might have not clicked in the first two T20Is but an explosion from his bat almost seems inevitable, thanks to his recent form in this format. Since the start of 2019, Morgan averages 38.92 in T20Is (SR 173.28) but really, it has been his knack to step up on big occasions that have stood out. His unbeaten 57 versus South Africa at Newlands and his 66 versus Pakistan at Old Trafford were both series-defining knocks, so with the number one ranking up for grabs, it would hardly be a surprise to see the skipper step it up comes to the 3rd T20I.
Australia - Ashton Agar
Ever since his re-emergence in international cricket, Ashton Agar has continuously proved the people who underestimate him wrong and in the 2nd T20I, he single-handedly kept Australia in the game with some exquisite, disciplined spin-bowling. Walking into bowl with Buttler in beast mode, Agar put a lid on the scoring and gave England a scare by dismissing both Malan and Banton. His performance hardly came as a surprise as thus far in 2020, the left-armer has picked 12 wickets in 5 games at a startling ER of 6.35. With his nemesis Buttler out of the next game, the Western Australian will be hoping to run through his opponents, just like he did against South Africa at the start of the year.
England - Adil Rashid
Whether Jos Buttler is England’s best ever white-ball batsman is debatable, but it goes without saying that Adil Rashid is England’s greatest ever white-ball bowler. In the first T20I, the leggie turned the game on its head by dismissing Smith and Maxwell and once again in the second game, he took the vitally important wicket of Stoinis to put Australia on the backfoot. Post the 2019 World Cup, after healing his shoulder, Rashid has been unstoppable and his rhythm and form he’s shown is an ominous sign for the Aussies, who have failed to read him in all 8 overs he’s bowled thus far this series.
Despite Australia being the number one ranked side in the world, it is hard to look beyond the statistics, which overwhelmingly favour the hosts. England will be brimming with confidence having already sealed the series, thus Fun88 predicts Eoin Morgan’s men to win the 3rd T20I and clinch the number one ranking.
Venue: Ageas Bowl, Old Trafford
When to Watch: Sep 08, 10.30 PM IST
Where to Watch: Sony LIV and Sony Network