Image courtesy of: The Guardian
Buttler’s red hot innings tied the series at 1-1
England wicketkeeper batsman Jos Buttler levelled the ODI series at 1-1 after his blistering 65 was enough to help his side register a three-wicket win over Australia in Cardiff.
Buttler was well supported by opening batsman Michael Carberry, who made 63, and captain Eoin Morgan, who smashed 53 runs.
Morgan won the toss and chose to bowl first since he preferred to chase a total instead of defending one.
His decision to bowl first paid off immediately as Australia opener Aaron Finch was given out lbw off the very first ball of the game.
Things went from bad to worse for Australia as all-rounder Shane Watson was caught behind off the bowling of Boyd Rankin for just six runs.
Finch’s opening partner Shaun Marsh managed to amass 25 runs before he too was caught behind, but only this time, Ben Stokes was bowling.
Australia skipper Michael Clarke also failed to make a major contribution with the bat as he could only muster 22 runs before being dismissed by Steven Finn.
With Australia struggling at 57/4, George Bailey and Adam Voges steadied the innings with a 67-run partnership before Voges was clean bowled by Ravi Bopara for 30.
Bailey continued to pile on the runs and passed his half-century during his 85-run partnership with wicketkeeper Matthew Wade.
Their partnership was eventually broken when Wade was caught out off the bowling of James Tredwell for 36 off 40 balls, which included three boundaries.
Bailey went on to make 87 off 91 deliveries, which included five boundaries and three sixes, before he was dismissed.
Behind Bailey’s 87, Australia managed to post 227 before they were bowled out with 10 balls to spare.
Tredwell was the pick of England’s bowlers with three wickets, while Finn and Rankin both snapped up two wickets apiece and Stokes and Bopara chipped in with one wicket each.
Chasing 228 to win, England got off to a horrid start thanks to Clint McKay, who took a brilliant hat-trick to dismiss Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Joe Root right after each other to leave England in a deep hole at 8/3.
However, a 104-run partnership between Morgan and Carberry, during which both batsmen recorded their half-centuries, brought England back into contention before Morgan was cleaned up by Watson for 53 off 92 balls, which included seven boundaries.
Carberry followed soon after as he was clean bowled by debutant Nathan Coulter-Nile for 63 off 95 deliveries, which also included seven boundaries.
With Bopara failing to make an impact, it came down to Buttler to save England and lead them to victory.
Buttler and Stokes put together a 75-run partnership, during which Buttler registered his half-century, before Stokes had his stumps rattled by McKay.
However, Buttler managed to lead England across the finish line with three balls to spare and finished unbeaten on 65 off 48 balls, which included five boundaries and two maximums.
McKay put up a valiant fight, taking four wickets, while Faulkner, Watson and Coulter-Nile all picked up one wicket apiece.
Clarke was extremely disappointed to have lost the match, but praised McKay for his hat-trick and Bailey for his tremendous innings.
“England deserve a lot of credit, they bowled well this morning when the wicket was doing a bit, George Bailey batted really well but we didn’t quite have enough,” he said. “I was disappointed to lose 5 for 20 at the end and the way we bowled was the way we had to, to have a chance. Clint’s bowling was terrific but we couldn’t get over the line. We’ve all got to improve. [Shaun Marsh injury?] He might struggle for Monday, it doesn’t look good. There’s a lot to play for after a difficult Ashes so we’re looking forward to trying to win the series.”
Morgan was impressed with Carberry and Buttler’s fighting knocks, but he also had some kind words for Stokes.
“Absolutely, some hard fought cricket, we were a few down so me and Carbs dug in,” he said. “Didn’t expect it to move around all innings but they had to bowl length at the end. A lot of positives, Michael Carberry scored runs, which was great, Jos Buttler at the end and the bowlers did well. Carbs has got a great head on his shoulders, he’s cool and calm. I’m feeling all right, good to get another innings. [Ben Stokes] has been playing really well and he’s come up trumps. It’s fantastic to see [the new guys] gel in the changing room. The pitch should be a belter down in Southampton so we’re looking forward to it.”
Buttler’s match-winning innings edged out McKay’s hat-trick for the Man of the Match award, and the England wicketkeeper said: “Definitely, great to be not out and the end and win. The knock at Old Trafford gave me a lot of confidence, so this is brilliant. That’s my role [finishing games], so I want to play more like today. I’ve played a lot with Ben, it was good to be out there with him. We couldn’t quite see the ball [on tight runs]. I think Johnson did me with a slower ball at the end and it just went straight up … The ball has been going into the gloves nicely since the Champions Trophy, so great to continue.”