David Warner has called on Australia’s Twenty20 side to bat smarter in the middle overs after a sloppy collapse of 4-9 helped England snatch a two-run victory.
Warner and Aaron Finch shook off six months of rust in style, sharing a 98-run stand to put their team in the box seat to haul in a target of 163 against a match-hardened opposition.
Australia, playing their first game since March, were sitting pretty at 1-124 after 14 overs.
But they managed just one boundary from the final 36 deliveries – Marcus Stoinis’ six in a dramatic last over – and staggeringly fell short at 6-160.
“We just have to try to be a little bit smarter and work out how we’re going to hit our boundaries,” Warner said.
“We have to try to keep rotating strike.
“They knocked us over quite comprehensively through the middle.”
Warner, who top-scored for Australia with 58, added empty stands and a long hiatus couldn’t be used as excuses.
“It’s the first time I have been here and not been abused, which is quite nice,” he quipped.
Australia’s game-changing collapse started when Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell departed in quick and needless fashion during Adil Rashid’s final over.
Smith raced to 18 then holed out to Jonny Bairstow in the deep, while Maxwell slapped his second ball to England captain Eoin Morgan at cover.
Warner and Alex Carey were then bowled, by Jofra Archer and Mark Wood respectively.
“Australia were in command for the majority of that innings,” Morgan admitted.
Finch, who fell to Archer on 46, suggested he and Warner should shoulder the blame rather than Maxwell or Smith.
“If you can separate the execution and the game plan, you can look a bit deeper into it,” Finch said.
“I’d probably be more critical of myself and Davey. We got us off to a good start and neither of us really kicked on.”
Stoinis looked to steady after the carnage.
But the required run-rate ballooned and he wanted 15 runs off the final over, delivered by Tom Curran, to win.
The hulking all-rounder, representing Australia for the first time since last year’s ODI World Cup, swung and missed then struck a powerful blow to make the victory equation nine runs from four balls.
Curran held his nerve as Australia’s shell-shocked coach Justin Langer pondered how his team snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
Maxwell, playing his first international game since taking a mental-health break last October, snagged 2-14 from three overs to help restrict England to 7-162.
Jos Buttler (44) rocketed the hosts to 0-35 from three overs.
Dawid Malan, England’s only top-order batsman to reach double figures apart from Buttler, was named man of the match for a knock of 66 that featured consecutive sixes off Adam Zampa.