(Reuters) - Australia’s Glenn Maxwell, Chris Lynn and D’Arcy Short fired with the bat to secure an emphatic seven-wicket victory over England as the hosts booked a place in the Twenty20 tri-series final on Saturday.
In front of a 42,691 crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Short (36 not out), Maxwell (39) and Lynn (31) contributed with crucial boundaries to seal their third consecutive win of the tournament with 33 balls to spare.
England had earlier posted a modest 137-7 from their 20 overs after stand-in captain Jos Buttler was the only England player to make a substantial score, but even he needed 49 deliveries for his 46.
“It was another poor performance from us, we didn’t quite soak up the pressure early on with the bat and then we never really kicked on,” Buttler said.
“We never felt we had enough runs and the power of Australia proved too much. We haven’t performed to our abilities yet but now we look forward to New Zealand.”
The visitors were restricted by a disciplined pace bowling performance from Kane Richardson, who finished with 3-33, while Billy Stanlake claimed 2-28.
England fast bowler David Willey had Australia’s stand-in skipper David Warner caught behind with just two runs on the board, giving England a glimmer of hope in the first over but Lynn soon snatched the momentum.
He smashed two fours and a six in the next over from Tom Curran and by the time he was dismissed by Chris Jordan in the final over of the powerplay Australia were in control at 51-2.
Short and Maxwell took charge against England spinners Adil Rashid and Liam Dawson before Aaron Finch confirmed the victory with back-to-back sixes off Willey.
England next face New Zealand in consecutive matches in Wellington (Feb. 13) and Hamilton (Feb. 18) as they attempt to join Australia in the final.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Clare Fallon