Updated June 7th, 2024 at 17:17 IST

England vs Australia: The Ashes rivalry set to unfold at T20 World Cup 2024

This will be no attritional Ashes-style contest between England and Australia. It’ll feature the intense cricket rivalry, of course, but this Twenty20 World Cup group encounter will be short, sharp and likely all about speed when defending champion England and 2021 winner Australia meet on Saturday.

It’ll feature the intense cricket rivalry, of course, but this Twenty20 World Cup group encounter will be short, sharp and likely all about speed when defending champion England and 2021 winner Australia meet on Saturday. | Image:AP
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This will be no attritional Ashes-style contest between England and Australia.

It’ll feature the intense cricket rivalry, of course, but this Twenty20 World Cup group encounter will be short, sharp and likely all about speed when defending champion England and 2021 winner Australia meet on Saturday.

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England has two of the fastest bowlers in cricket — Barbados-born Jofra Archer , who is returning from a long-term injury, and Mark Wood.

They’re likely to be given the job at Bridgetown’s Kensington Oval of unsettling Australia’s top-order batters like David Warner, Travis Head and Mitchell Marsh.

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None will be more eager than Archer, who got to bowl only two overs and didn't take a wicket when England's opening game against Scotland here this week was washed out after 10 overs. The crowd, including the prime minister, was there to see Archer, and the paceman admitted he shed a tear at the reception he was given.

But the Australians also have an arsenal of tall, experienced fast bowlers including Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins equally as willing to let the ball do the talking against the likes of Phil Salt, Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow.

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Starc was instrumental in helping Kolkata Knight Riders win the Indian Premier League final last month over Cummins' Hyderabad team and claim the biggest prize in franchise cricket.

“Australia is a big game,” England coach Matthew Mott, an Australian, said after they shared the points with Scotland. “It will be a fantastic contest between two very good teams.”

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The brief bowling spells of his England attack against Scotland set up an enticing prospect of them lining up again against the Australians.

“Mark Woods steaming in there first over is exciting,” Mott said. "And him and Jofre together is something that we’ve not been able to have for a while. We were really keen to make a statement there.

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“We match up really well against Australia ... really looking forward to it.”

Warner, who scored 56 to help set up Australia's opening win over Oman , has been a long-time Ashes protagonist and tends to lift another level against England.

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“Everyone talks about rivalry with the Ashes and that, but it’s Twenty20 cricket,” Warner said, highlighting the difference between the five-day test format and the T20 games that are over in a few hours. "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.”

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Some of the pitches in the games have produced uneven bounce, resulting in low scoring and difficult conditions for the batters.

The 37-year-old Warner, playing in likely his last major tournament for Australia, said it's part of the game.

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“I think on these wickets, it’s going to be natural variation. It’s upon you as a batter to try to adjust to that,” he said, forecasting how he'll deal with the expected pace barrage from England. “You use their pace. In Twenty20 cricket, you only have to get half an edge on it and it can go” to the boundary.

The Group B match will be one of the two big grudge matches on the weekend, with India and Pakistan meeting on Long Island on Sunday.

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Published June 7th, 2024 at 17:17 IST