England beats Australia by 8 runs in T2O WC warmup match

PERTH (AP): England produced some impressive late bowling to beat Australia by eight runs Sunday in the first of the teams’ three warmup matches ahead of this month’s T20 World Cup.

Put into bat, England made 208-6 — after an opening partnership of 132 between Alex Hales (84 off 51 balls) and Jos Buttler (68 off 32 balls) — to leave Australia needing to achieve a record T20 run chase by any team against the English.

Australia was on course to do it, getting to 158-3 midway through the 15th over when Marcus Stoinis (35) and Tim David (0) fell in the space of four balls from Mark Wood.

Then Wood, off the final ball of his four overs, snagged David Warner for a team-high 73 as the opener holed out to Hales in the deep.

The match was in the balance but England took three wickets in the last eight balls of the chase to get home in Perth, with Australia finishing on 200-9.

“It was a great game of cricket and we are delighted to get over the line,” said Buttler, England’s white-ball captain. “Australia played really well, put us under pressure. We were favorties for large parts of the chase. We needed to take wickets and that’s what we did.”

Wood had 3-34 and Sam Curran 2-35.

Buttler hadn’t played since injuring his calf in August while Ben Stokes, who scored 9, returned to England’s T20 team for the first time since July 2021.

“I have lots of experience but any time you have a period where you don’t play for a while you are not sure how you will go,” Buttler said. “It was nice to get that boundary early which made me feel settled.”

Steve Smith was among six big names missing the match for Australia. The home side also rested Adam Zampa, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Glenn Maxwell.

Australia captain Aaron Finch gave credit to England’s openers.

“Against great players like Jos Buttler and Alex Hales, sometimes there isn’t much you could do,” Finch said. “When they get in front of the game, they can be hard to stop. They are great players for a reason.

“We got ourselves into a position to win the game but couldn’t quite finish it off.”

The teams will play again in Canberra on Wednesday and Friday.