David Warner’s white-ball woes continued, but that wasn’t enough to stop Australia from booking their spot in the Twenty20 tri-series final with a seven-wicket victory over England at the MCG.
Chasing 138 to win on Saturday night after Warner won the toss and elected to bowl, Glenn Maxwell (39) and D’Arcy Short (36 not out) blasted the hosts to victory with 27 balls to spare.
The unbeaten Australians are now assured of a spot in the February 21 final in Auckland after downing England by five wickets in Hobart and beating New Zealand in the series opener.
But questions are bound to be raised about stand-in T20 skipper Warner’s relentless schedule after he lasted just four balls, nicking a ripping David Willey outswinger on two.
The dashing left-hander is the only member of the Test side to have played for Australia in every format this summer and has struggled for form in the ODIs and T20s.
He is expected to travel with the T20 side to New Zealand before heading straight to South Africa for the first of four Tests.
After scoring an unbeaten century in Hobart, Maxwell continued his incredible summer to reach 1000 runs in T20 internationals.
He and Short combined for 39 off consecutive overs from Liam Dawson and Adil Rashid to doom any hopes of an England fightback.
The visitors lost skipper Eoin Morgan to injury and struggled in his absence, finishing on 7-137 off their 20 overs.
Warner left England reeling at 3-34 in the fourth over when he ran out Dawid Malan with a brilliant direct hit.
The visitors almost paid for another mix-up in the following over, with James Vince certain to have been dismissed if Glenn Maxwell’s throw had been on target.
Sam Billings (29) and stand-in captain Jos Buttler (46) looked to steady the ship for England but lacked the firepower to get hold of Australia’s disciplined bowlers.
With legspinner Adam Zampa again overlooked, man of the match Kane Richardson (3-33), Billy Stanlake (2-28), Kane Richardson (3-33) and Andrew Tye (1-29) did the damage.
Morgan was a late omission after straining his right groin during training on Friday.
The injury could prove to be a major blow for England with team doctors yet to make a call on whether Morgan will be available for the New Zealand leg of the series.