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T20 World Cup: No wholesale changes for must-win clash with Australia, says England coach Mott

Melbourne, Oct 27 (IANS) With pressure mounting on England after their defeat to Ireland in a Super 12 match, coach Matthew Mott has said he will resist the urge to shake things up and make too many changes to his side for their must-win clash against Australia in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup here on Friday.

Mott’s team fell to a disappointing five-run defeat to Ireland via the DLS method at the MCG on Wednesday and now face the reigning T20 World Cup champions in front of their home crowd in what looms as a crunch match for both sides and one that will be crucial to the make-up of the semifinals.

Both England and Australia have two points from two matches as both currently sit outside the top two spots on a log-jammed Group 1 standings. The team losing on Friday will face a difficult task to qualify for the knockout stages of the tournament.

But Mott said it was business as usual for England and he will likely stick with the same XI that took on Ireland when they face Australia unless one of his bowlers pulls up sore.

“We have played really solid cricket for the last month…we are not going throw the baby out with the bat” water,” Mott said during the pre-match press conference here on Thursday.

“It’s just business as usual as we would. We’ll go through the sessions, see who’s pulled up well and make changes. But it is very unlikely to change the structure of the team. It might be a change here or two depending on how the bowlers “ulled up,” he added.

The form of key player Ben Stokes with the bat has been one talking point for England thus far, with the experienced all-rounder and current Test captain having made just one score in double figures from five innings since he arrived in Australia earlier this month.

But Mott is expecting Stokes to turn it around quickly and is forecasting the left-hander to find his best form against Australia.

“He’s an incredible player for our team,” Mott said of Stokes. “He’s a real leader in our group as well, apart from the official leaders. I thought his bowling has been a real bonus for us. I think a lot of people probably underestimate his bowling coming into this tournament.

“And he’s been key for us. I think he’s bowled some big overs, particularly in the Powerplay. With the bat, he hasn’t come off yet. But his career would suggest that at some point someone’s going to pay a price and hopefully that’s Australia in a day’s time,” Mott added.

While Mott was born in Australia and enjoyed much recent success as coach of Australia’s women’s team, the 49-year-old knows exactly where his allegiances lie come Friday at the MCG, the ICC said in a report on its official website.

“I’ve got a lot of friends in that (Australia) group, both in the playing group and the staff group. But as you find in cricket, you love the one you’re with. And I love being part of”this (England) group,” he said.

“It’s very special to me. I think in the short time I’ve been there I’ve got a lot of really strong allies within our playing group and our support group and we are incredibly motivated.

“And yesterday only adds to the motivation. I think it’s put us in a spot that we didn’t really want to be in. But it’s a good spot to be in. If the weather holds, I think it’s going to be a great game of cricket — two very good teams going head-to-head with a lot on the line.

“So, it’s what you play for. It’s World Cup. And it’s tournament play, which is cut-throat. Not always the best team wins. But hopefully, we put ourselves in a position to ge” over the top of Australia,” he added.

–IANS

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