England pulls off an incredible win

Australia implodes from within striking distance

Tom Curran held his nerve as England beat Australia by two runs in a final-ball thriller to win the first T20I here on Friday and go 1-0 up in a three-match series.

Australia, in its first competitive match in nearly six months, was making light work of a target of 163 while captain Aaron Finch (46) and David Warner (58) were putting on 98 for the first wicket. After Finch was dismissed by Jofra Archer, Steve Smith made a quick 18 before falling to Adil Rashid. That sparked a collapse as the visitors lost four wickets for nine runs. A target of 15 off six balls became five off one. But Marcus Stoinis, having hit a six off Curran earlier in the over, couldn’t hit another.

Adil Rashid then gave England hope with two wickets off five balls, having Smith (18) caught in the deep before all-rounder Glenn Maxwell (one) slapped him straight to home captain Eoin Morgan at short extra-cover.

And, Archer then bowled Warner off his pads to end the left-hander’s 47-ball innings featuring four 4s. Alex Carey had made just one when he was bowled by Mark Wood.

Earlier, Australia held England to 162 for seven after Finch won the toss. Kane Richardson took two for 13 and occasional off-spinner Glenn Maxwell two for 14.

England seemed on course for a large total while opener Jos Buttler was making 44. But Dawid Malan’s 66 was the only other contribution of note.

Maxwell removed dangerman Eoin Morgan for just five when he skied Maxwell and Smith, running round from long-on, held a good catch under the Ageas Bowl floodlights. Malan completed a 37-ball fifty before he holed out off Richardson.

The scores: England 162/7 in 20 overs (Malan 66, Buttler 44, Agar 2/32, Richardson 2/13, Maxwell 2/14) bt Australia 160/6 in 20 overs (Finch 46, Warner 58, Archer 2/33, Rashid 2/29).

Second T20I: Sept. 6 (Sunday), 6.45 p.m. (IST).

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