Ireland’s upset win over England again highlighted the unpredictable nature of a captivating tournament and made the group all the tighter, with New Zealand taking one point from a washout against Afghanistan to sit top after two rounds.
The hosts can ill afford another set-back after suffering such a major net run rate blow in their opening defeat to their trans-Tasman rivals.
But England had the measure of Australia in the three-match series that preceded the World Cup, and will hope to better manage the quirks of a Melbourne Cricket Ground likely to be rather fuller than it was during the defeat to Ireland.
Here’s everything you need to know:
When and where is it?
England vs Australia is due to begin at 9am BST on Friday 28 October at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
How can I watch it?
Viewers in the United Kingdom can watch the T20 World Cup match live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Cricket, with coverage from 8.30am BST. Subscribers can stream the action via Sky Go.
England may mull changes to a bowling attack that didn’t quite get it right in the first ten overs against Ireland. Chris Woakes was lacking in his usual accuracy and new ball nip and could therefore be vulnerable - David Willey would be the likeliest option as a new ball specialist to replace him, though Chris Jordan and Tymal Mills are also in the squad.
Aaron Finch’s form will be a concern for Australia, though there is little to suggest that the captain will be excluded for this encounter. Several prominent voices, including Mark Waugh, have called for Pat Cummins to drop out of the side after back-to-back off nights in the defending champions’ opening two group fixtures. Adam Zampa should return in the place of Ashton Agar if he has overcome Covid.
England XI: Jos Buttler (capt. & wk), Alex Hales, Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Harry Brook, Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood.
Australia XI: David Warner, Aaron Finch (capt.), Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Tim David, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood.
England win 68/67
Australia win 10/11
England’s recent record in men’s T20Is against Australia is outstanding, but they have never won at the MCG, and it may be a surface to favour the hosts’ attack. The forecast suggests that this encounter may well be impacted by the weather - a shortened game generally aids the chasing team, so the toss could be crucial. Australia to win by five wickets