Lancashire’s Jos Buttler starred for England as they made it three wins in a row in an eight wicket win demolition of Australia in Dubai.
The victory all but guarantees their place in the World Cup semi-finals.
Chasing just 125 to win, Buttler was in defiant form and hit a stunning 71 off 32 balls.
He led his side to a resounding victory after Chris Woakes (2-23) and Chris Jordan (3-17) bowled brilliantly to keep Australia to a below par score.
England now sit top of Group 1 with six points. Australia have dropped to third in the group with four points after previous back-to-back wins.
Australia were off to a disastrous start after being put into bat by Morgan, losing both main men David Warner (1) and Steve Smith (1) inside the first three overs to Woakes and Jordan respectively.
The former took an outstanding one-handed catch to help dismiss Smith.
Things went from bad to worse for the Aussies when Woakes claimed his second wicket – during a brilliant spell of swing bowling – to dismiss Glen Maxwell (6) lbw with the score on 15.
England then dismissed another when Adil Rashid trapped Marcus Stoinis lbw for a four-ball duck to leave Australia almost unbelievably 21-4 after the powerplay.
Matthew Wade helped build a promising partnership with captain Aaron Finch, but was dismissed for 18 after being caught on the long-on boundary by Jason Roy off Liam Livingstone’s bowling.
Livingstone finishing with 1-15 off his four overs of spin.
The biggest partnership of the Australian innings was between Finch and Ashton Agar who put on 47 for the 6th wicket, with the latter striking consecutive sixes’ off Woakes in the 17th over.
Agar (20) was then caught the following over off a Tymal Mills’ slower ball, on the boundary by Livingstone.
Pat Cummins then arrived at the crease by smashing back-to-back sixes off of the rest of Mills’ over to give Australia some momentum heading into the final two overs.
That momentum was quickly quelled within minutes of the next over as Jordan had firstly ended Finch’s innings-long stay at the crease (44) when he was caught on the boundary by Jonny Bairstow.
Then the following ball Cummins’ stumps were shattered (12) as Jordan was on a hat-trick.
The Sussex man could not dismiss Adam Zampa on the hat-trick ball, but finished with an innings-best 3-17 off 4.
Mills bowled an expensive final over, conceding two boundaries from it, but contributed to the run out of Zampa (1) before dismissing Mitchell Starc (13) with a superb slower ball off the final ball of the innings to dismiss Australia for 126.
England’s innings started in the complete opposite fashion to their old rivals.
Buttler started as England would continue when he pulled Starc through mid-wicket for a boundary in the first over.
Roy followed suit in the next over with a near carbon copy of the same boundary, this time off quick Josh Hazlewood.
In the third over, Roy produced one of the shots of the tournament as he walked down the pitch and deposited Cummins into the stands – through mid-wicket – to the amazement of team and fans.
Further boundaries in the powerplay, including back-to-back sixes from Buttler off Starc in the 6th over meant England acquired the highest powerplay score of the tournament so far, 66-0.
It eclipsed Australia’s own record from Sri Lanka only a few days prior.
However, Australia bounced back immediately after the powerplay through Zampa.
An lbw appeal from the New South Welshman was turned down by umpire Nitin Menon before Finch chose to review. All three reds meant Roy was sent back for 22.
The respite was short-lived as Buttler continued his destructive form with boundaries off Starc consecutively in the 8th over and in bringing up his 50 – the fastest of the tournament – with a massive six down the ground in the following over.
Aussies would bounce back again in the 10th over when Agar dismissed Dawid Malan (8) after he edged a quicker delivery behind the stumps to Wade who held on well.
Australian fans may have rued that wicket as after Buttler, once again, dispatched Zampa down the ground for six runs, Yorkshireman Bairstow then hit resounding sixes through mid-wicket and long-on to all but win the game for England.
In the next over, Bairstow worked the ball through cover for a single to win England the game with more than eight overs to spare and place one foot into the semi-finals of a competition they are firm favourites for after this win.
England’s next game will be against Sri Lanka on Monday in Sharjah.
(featured pic By Ytfc23, under Creative Commons licence)