T20 World Cup 2021: Australia vs England preview
Source - Getty Images: Gareth Copley

England captain Eoin Morgan has indicated he is preparing his side for what he believes will be their toughest contest of the 2021 T20 World Cup so far as they prepare to face old rivals Australia in Dubai this Saturday.  

Both sides currently sit on four points in Group 1 of the Super 12's having each won their opening two games of the competition - England dominating both West Indies and Bangladesh while the Australians narrowly edged past South Africa before defeating Sri Lanka.

Three Lions captain, Morgan reiterated how difficult he believes the game will be for his side, saying: "Australia are a very strong side - coming into the tournament, they would probably be considered joint second-favourites, along with us."

The winner of the contest will take a major step towards qualification for the semi-final stage of the World Cup and will be in prime position to progress as group victors.

"It's probably going to be one of our most difficult games" - Eoin Morgan 

England will be full of confidence after a pair of crushing victories in their opening two games of the competition as they get ready to face an Australian team that has largely failed to inspire so far. 

The world's number one ranked T20 side backed up their dismantling of Kieron Pollard's West Indies last week with a superb eight-wicket victory over a dangerous Bangladesh side in Abu Dhabi this Wednesday. 

Despite opening batsman Jason Roy hitting a blistering 61 off 38 balls against the Tigers, it was the Three Lions bowlers, however, that stole the headlines after another stunning performance that leaves Morgans bowling unit having taken a combined 179-19 so far in the U.A.E. 

Paceman Tymal Mills has particularly stood out so far, having taken five wickets at an average of 8.80 in his two games. 

The biggest negative for England though is the continued absence of quick bowlers Mark Wood and Tom Curran who have both yet to feature in the tournament - with Morgan confirming this that both would likely miss out again in the game against Australia. 

Other than Wood and Curran, however, England have picked up no new injury concerns since their last game. 

Predicted England XI: Roy, Buttler (WK), Malan, Bairstow, Livingstone, Morgan (C), Ali, Woakes, Jordan, Rashid, Mills 

"We always enjoy coming up against England," says Australia's Pat Cummins 

Despite victories in their opening two games of the competition, Aaron Finch's Australia still seem to have yet to convince fans of their title-winning credentials. 

The Aussies opened their 2021 T20 World Cup account with a narrow 5-wicket win over South Africa where they chased down the Protease's target of 119 runs with just two balls to spare. 

They then went on to enjoy a somewhat more convincing success over Sri Lanka in their second outing, with a seven-wicket victory that also saw the timely return to form of opening batter David Warner

With this, it has been suggested that Finch may well be considering making a number of changes to his sides playing XI before they face England, with Ashton Agar rumoured to be in contention to play his first game of the competition as the Aussies may look to include a second frontline spinner to accompany Adam Zampa

Batsman Josh Inglis is also thought to be in the picture to play in Abu Dhabi, likely replacing all-rounder Mitch Marsh who scored just 11 runs from 17 balls in his first game in the competition before not even being sent into bat against Sri Lanka. 

The dangerous pace bowling trio of Mitchel Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins are all set to play, however, after being the standout players in Australia's World Cup campaign thus far with the three having taken a combined total of nine wickets so far.  

Predicted Australia XI: Warner, Finch (C), Inglis, Smith, Maxwell, Stoinis, Wade (WK), Cummins, Starc, Zampa, Hazlewood

What the captains had to say 

Eoin Morgan: 

On Facing Australia: "It's probably going to be one of our most difficult games. 

"Coming into the tournament, they would probably be considered joint second-favourites, along with us.

"They’re a side that we know pretty well – we’ve played against them a lot over a number of years.”

On the form of Tymal Mills: "The journey he's been on is one of the most challenging we've ever seen anybody who's played in an England shirt. 

"Full credit to him, as you can see at the moment, he's bowling pretty well and is very effective for us."

Aaron Finch: 

On playing England: “It’s always a great battle, We’re looking forward to it.

"They’ve probably been the form side in white-ball cricket for a long time.

"We love playing them and it’ll be an entertaining game."