England is all set to host Australia in the first T20I of three match series at Rose Bowl Cricket Stadium, tonight.
After a surprising 1-1 series draw against visitors Pakistan, England would be determined to prove that they are kings at home. Australia will be looking to get much-needed match practice and also adjust to the concept of a bio-bubble as they get back to competitive action.
"We've had a pretty settled T20 side over the last 12 months or so and all we can ask for is that guys bang so hard they are putting the pressure on the guys in there," said Australia's coach Justin Langer sounding quite optimistic about his team's chances.
They will depend on their maverick batsmen, Steve Smith and David Warner to pile the runs. The Aussies are not short of batting options with the likes of a consistent Marnus Labuschagne and a destructive Glenn Maxwell waiting in the wings.
"There's an extra incentive when you play Australia, your biggest rivals, they are desperate to beat you, you are desperate to beat them, it doesn't matter if it's the Ashes, white ball, T20", said Mark Wood drawing the battle lines ahead of the showdown.
While England will be missing their star all-rounder Ben Stokes, their bowling attack has depth with the mercurial Jofra Archer, an exciting Sam Curran and the experienced Chris Jordan in the ranks.
Australia too has a match-winning bowling attack with the trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood.
With skipper Eoin Morgan having decided his opening combination in Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow, The middle-order needs to come good in the absence of an injured Jason Roy and an omitted Joe Root. Tom Banton's consistency, however, will keep them in good stead.
Having won nine out of their past 11 T2O internationals, Australia will look to start strong. They have a couple of effective spinners lined up in Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar. England, on the other hand, has been unbeaten in their last six T20 series and has been playing well with each player emerging as a match-winner.
Having played some intra-squad practice matches, the Aussies will be raring to go. In the end, it will boil down to adjusting with the conditions and smacking it from ball one.
Prediction - England to win
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