Sport Cricket English cricketers defeat Australia in Twenty20 match
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English cricketers defeat Australia in Twenty20 match

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England captain Eoin Morgan marked his return to cricket by top-scoring for his side in a five-run win over Australia in a lone Twenty20 international in Cardiff.

Morgan made 74 and shared a third-wicket stand of 135 in just 75 balls with fellow left-hander Moeen Ali (72 not out) in a total of 5 for 182 after England, sent into bat, had slumped to 2 for 18.

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Australia, however, was on course for victory while skipper Steven Smith was making a Twenty20 international best 90.

But the tourists lost five wickets for 16 runs in 14 balls and finished on 8 for 177.

England all-rounder Ben Stokes, who held a brilliant catch in the deep to dismiss Glenn Maxwell, was entrusted with a last over where Australia needed just 12 more runs to win.

However, it lost three wickets, two to run outs, with Stokes also having Nathan Coulter-Nile out for a duck when Adil Rashid held a skyer at short third man.

Stokes conceded just six runs off the over, with Australia finishing on 8 for 177.

England's David Willey celebrates dismissing Australian captain Steven Smith during the NatWest T20 International match in Cardiff. Photo: Getty
England’s David Willey celebrates dismissing Australian captain Steven Smith during the NatWest T20 International match in Cardiff. Photo: Getty

Morgan’s innings was a vindication of the month’s break he had from cricket after being rested by Middlesex – whose director of cricket, Angus Fraser, is also an England selector – following a poor run of domestic form.

“It was brilliant, a great game of cricket to win,” former Ireland international Morgan told Sky Sports afterwards.

“You can learn a lot from playing in close games against top opposition,” added Morgan, who also led England to a Twenty20 and one-day series win over New Zealand earlier this season.

“It was impressive the way Ben Stokes bowled that final over and delivered his skills after just finishing a five-game Test series.”

Smith added: “It was one of those games…We were hot and cold with the ball but credit to Eoin and Moeen.

“We couldn’t get another partnership going after me and Glenn and that was a big difference.”

Earlier, England lost openers Alex Hales (3) and Jason Roy (11) in four balls from paceman Pat Cummins to be 2 for 18 in four overs.

Morgan, however, struck a superb straight six off all-rounder Mitchell Marsh that sent the ball soaring out of the ground and into the River Taff.

He also hammered Cummins for two sixes before he was well-caught on the long-on boundary by Shane Watson off paceman Coulter-Nile.

Morgan faced 39 balls, hitting three fours and seven sixes.

Cummins, however, came back well to finish with 2 for 25.

Man-of-the-match Ali faced 46 balls and struck six fours and two sixes.

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