AUSTRALIA: Pacer Sam Curran came in clutch to power England to a thrilling eight-run win over Australia in the second T20I at Canberra on Wednesday, helping their side clinch a series win against arch-rivals in their own territory.
England now has an unassailable 2-0 series lead with one more match to go. In first innings, England posted 178/7 in their 20 overs, with southpaw Dawid Malan scoring a quickfire 82 off 49 balls. Marcus Stoinis used his medium-pace to end with figures of 3/34. Chasing 179, Mitchell Marsh (45) top-scored for Australia. Curran (3/25) took some crucial wickets for his side that helped them seal a thrilling win.
Chasing 179, pacer David Willey and Reece Topley sent back openers Aaron Finch (13 off 13 balls) and David Warner (4 off 11), reducing Aussies to 2/22 in 4.1 overs.
Mitchell Marsh and Glenn Maxwell joined forces to take their side through the remainder of their six overs of powerplay without any further damage. Australia was 41/2 in six overs, Maxwell (5*) and Marsh (14*). Marsh looked really good with the bat.
But his partner Maxwell's struggles continued as Curran got his first wicket after the batter was caught by Alex Hales at the deep square leg for 8 off 11 balls. Stoinis joined Marsh to revive Aussies chances in the match and hit two fours and a six within first nine balls he faced.
Marsh was also scoring steadily from the other end. With the assistance of Harry Brook's safe hands, Curran got Stoinis' wicket in the 12th over. The batter was out for 22 off 13 balls and his 40-run stand with Marsh was undone. The Aussies were at 91/4 in 11.4 overs.
Marsh looked on course of making a brilliant half-century but it was Ben Stokes who dismissed him for a well-made 45 off 29 balls. Curran could not be kept out of action as he took a great catch at deep square leg. Half of the Australian lineup was back in the hut for 114 runs in 14.1 overs.
It was upto the fresh power-hitting pair of Tim David and Matthew Wade to get Aussies those remaining 65 runs in 35 balls.
David was looking extremely dangerous, feasting on everyone bowling from the other end. Pacer Chris Jordan suffered the most, getting smacked for 14 runs in the 17th over.
With 34 needed in three overs, stage looked set for finisher David to unleash his big sixers. Curran delivered yet another breakthrough to send back David for 40 off 21 balls by rattling his stumps.
Wade and Pat Cummins then took the chase forward, but fell eight runs short despite their efforts. Australia finished at 170/6 in 20 overs with Wade (10*) and Cummins (18*) at the crease.
Besides Curran, Stokes, Topley and Willey took a wicket each too. Earlier, put to bat first by Australia, England had a rough start and they were reduced to 54/4 in eight overs. Skipper Jos Buttler (17), Alex Hales (4), Ben Stokes (7) and Harry Brook (1) left without making any impact.
Stoinis took wickets of dangerous Hales and Brook. Malan was joined by all-rounder Moeen Ali and they started the repair works after an early collapse. Malan looked extremely intimidating at the other end while Ali was also tonking boundaries with ease.
The duo powered England out of a worrisome situation. Their 92-run stand was broken when spinner Adam Zampa struck to send back Ali for 44 off 24 balls. Malan carried the innings forward until he was dismissed by Stoinis on the third ball of the final over for 82 runs off 49 balls with seven fours and four sixes.
England finished at 178/7 in 20 overs with Jordan (7*) and Willey (0*). Stoinis was Aussies' key bowler and received wonderful support from Adam Zampa (2/26) and pacers Mitchell Starc and Cummins, who got a wicket each.