T20 World Cup: Pressure on for England against Australia after Scotland washout

England play their second match at the T20 World Cup on Saturday, against Australia in Barbados, and will be hoping to cut out some of the errors they made in their first.

Misfields from Liam Livingstone and Moeen Ali, plus a Mark Wood wicket chalked off for a front-foot no-ball, helped Scotland plunder 90-0 from their rain-reduced 10 overs in Bridgetown on Tuesday before a further downpour prevented England beginning a DLS-adjusted chase of 109 and the match was abandoned.

The clash with Australia may not be must-win – although former England off-spinner Graeme Swann thinks it is – with the volatile nature of T20 cricket meaning anybody can beat anybody, as evidenced by co-hosts USA knocking over Pakistan.

But a defeat to their old rivals – something they have only suffered once in the last seven completed T20I fixtures between the teams – would leave England in a precarious position in Group B with everyone having played twice.

So, is net run-rate coming into their thinking already?

“Not as yet,” said England leg-spinner Adil Rashid, who bagged figures of 0-26 from two overs at a soggy Barbados on Tuesday. “We are taking it one game at a time, one step at a time.

“It’s Australia next and we have to make sure we do our job and see what lies ahead.

“They are one of the best teams in the world, but we know that if we turn up and do our stuff, hopefully we can come good. It’s a massive game. Hopefully the crowd will turn up and the weather will be good and we put a good show on.”

Sky Sports’ Michael Atherton said: “If it doesn’t go well for England on Saturday, it leaves them with no wiggle room.

“If there is a washout or there is a bad performance, then you are really struggling, so it has ramped up the pressure. But an occasion like England vs Australia there is always pressure anyway.”

Australia captain Mitchell Marsh says fast bowler Pat Cummins, rested for his side’s 39-run win over Oman in Barbados on Thursday, is likely to return against England.

England-wise, Sky Sports Cricket’s Nasser Hussain would bring left-arm seamer Reece Topley into the side at Kensington Oval.

Surrey man Topley sat out the Scotland fixture as express quicks Wood and Jofra Archer joined Chris Jordan in the pace attack.

Former England captain Hussain told Sky Sports: “You need the variation of tall bowlers bowling cutters into the surface, so I would go Topley.

“He also swings the new ball as well and left-armers have done well in this tournament in Barbados with the breeze.

“I would go for him against Australia as his stats to left-handers are phenomenal and Australia have Travis Head and David Warner at the top of the order.

“Jordan’s batting has been excellent over the last year or two and England want the top seven to go hard, so having him at No 8 gives them batting depth. Then you also have his fielding and death bowling. So it could be Wood [to miss out].”

Warner struck 56 from 51 deliveries against Oman, a game in which Marcus Stoinis scooped the Player of the Match award after backing up a 36-ball 67 not out with three wickets.

Warner said ahead of facing England: “Everyone talks about rivalry with the Ashes and that, but it’s Twenty20 cricket.

“They’re the reigning champions, we have to respect that. We’ve got to come out here and be on our game.

“It would be great to get momentum and get one up on them, because you never know in these pool games, somebody can turn it on and you can lose one.”

Atherton said of Warner, the only remaining player across either side to have featured in the 2010 T20 World Cup final in Barbados, which England won by seven wickets: “He is still a man to be feared at the top of the order.

“When you look at him, he looks fit still. He is coming to the end of his career but physically he is in very good nick. And we saw in that Oman game the value of experience.

“The pitches so far [have suggested] this World Cup is not going to be the run-fest it was in the IPL.

“Warner throttled back against Oman, made sure Australia got a score after they were struggling a bit. Stoinis then provided the fireworks at the end of the innings.”

Hussain added: “It’s not a bad pitch to play Australia on.

“They are obviously well-travelled and play in all parts of the world now but if you asked an Australian what sort of pitch they would like, it would be a quick, bouncy pitch.

“This Barbados pitch is a little uneven, a little two-paced and for the first 14 overs against Oman they were not sure. It was hard work.”

(Sky Sports)

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