Captain Morgan fires England to success
Eoin Morgan led from the front as England won a thrilling NatWest T20 International against Australia by five runs at the SSE SWALEC.
The England captain smashed 74 from 39 balls, including seven sixes, and shared a crucial stand of 135 with Moeen Ali as England posted 182 for five.
Steven Smith appeared to be guiding Australia to victory as he thrashed 90 in reply, but he fell during a flurry of late wickets – the tourists losing five batsmen in the last 15 balls as they finished on 177 for eight.
England’s innings started slowly, but there was nothing sluggish about the pace Pat Cummins was bowling at and he took two wickets in his first over.
Alex Hales was bowled by a 92 mile-per-hour full toss, and opening partner Jason Roy miscued an attempted slog high over cover, with Nathan Coulter-Nile taking a good catch running back.
Moeen took a liking to debutant Marcus Stoinis, whose sole over went for 13 and included a six into the crowd over square-leg.
Morgan then hit the first two balls of Mitchell Marsh’s 11th over back down the pitch for four and six,
Leg-spinner Cameron Boyce was dispatched for 19 in his solitary over, with Moeen passing fifty with a four through midwicket either side of sixes into the leg-side.
Morgan followed his partner to a half-century in the next over as Shane Watson was smashed for three maximums, two of them caught by a delighted Cardiff crowd.
Cummins was twice struck over the rope in the next over, but when Watson caught Morgan off Coulter-Nile in the 17th England failed to maintain their momentum.
Moeen was starved of the strike as he finished 72 not out, and while Jos Buttler produced a lively four-ball 11, Sam Billings could only add two from seven balls before being run out.
The bowlers made a perfect start to Australia’s reply, with David Willey having David Warner caught by Steven Finn at third man in the first over and Finn bowling Watson in comedic fashion as the all-rounder failed to kick a bouncing ball away from his stumps.
Smith and Glenn Maxwell then added 112 – the latter being out-hit by his captain, who pulled Finn for one particularly huge effort over the leg-side rope.
However, once Maxwell had been brilliantly caught by a tumbling Ben Stokes off Moeen’s first ball for 44, the Australian innings subsided.
Mitchell Marsh was bowled by impressive debutant Reece Topley and Smith was caught on the rope by Roy off Willey 10 short of his ton.
With 12 needed off the last over it was still all to play for, but Stokes held his nerve – running out Matthew Wade and Cummins either side of having Coulter-Nile held at third man by Adil Rashid.