Ed Hawkins reckons Australia's squad, which includes familiar faces from the Ashes, will have too much for a hotch-potch England team in Southampton on Thursday night...
"Admittedly any Australia team in any format has not won in 12 attempts, but that run cannot continue for much longer"
Back Australia 1.9620/21
England v Australia
Start time: 18:30 BST
TV: Live on Sky Sports 2
Stuart Broad, Joe Root and Steven Finn are the only three England players who make the switch from the Test side to Twenty20. Broad is the skipper. The rest are well-known county circuit travellers. Harsh? Possibly. Ravi Bopara you will spot while there are places for Michael Carbbery, 32, James Tredwell, 31 and Michael Lumb, 31. Indeed, there appears to have been a departure from the picking of unshaven faces of the past. Alex Hales and Jos Buttler are young enough to be considered exciting, as is Danny Briggs. Folk like Luke Wright, Boyd Rankin and the criminally expensive Jade Dernbach are in that wilderness of not having quite made it.
If you have only watched the Ashes this summer then you will probably recognise more of Australia's squad. Michael Clarke, for example, is included but whether he plays must be doubtful because of consistent back problems. Otherwise, Shane Watson, Steve Smith, David Warner, Mitchell Starc, Phil Hughes and James Faulkner are all there. George Bailey will skipper the line-up. Look out for Shaun Marsh, the hard-hitting 31-year-old, and everyone's favourite, Mitchell Johnson.
The pitch conditions are, as ever, hugely important so getting a gauge is the key to profit. There have been only two internationals played at Southampton and the indications are that it's a pretty good batting wicket. England posted 179 versus the Aussies in 2005 and then bowled them out for 79. A year later Sri Lanka made 163 in victory against the hosts. More recently, there were seven matches played at the venue in this season's domestic T20. The first-innings scores were: 139-118-143-182-190-202. That is an average of 162. If Australia pick a strong team then they should breach 160 and that is our pick here. No rain is forecast.
This match is under lights so the first thing we must do is check whether there is a toss bias. There isn't. A 4/3 split in favour of the side batting last is not relevant. That is not great news for England, who are 2.021/1 outsiders. We think they may need that extra assistance. That is because there appears to be quite a considerable gulf in experience and class in this format. That is if the likes of Watson, Warner, Smith, Marsh and Johnson play. All, and this should not be underestimated, have IPL experience and they are players who can turn a game on its head very quickly.
Yes, there are impressive performers in the England ranks but that bunch we've just listed have biffed and bullied all over the world. England can reckon on only Broad and Morgan from their lot. Maybe Bopara. Maybe Hales, too, but we need a longer study period for him. It is certainly possible that the likes of Dernbach and Rankin could be meat in the Warner/Watson sandwich.
Check the teams before but Australia could be stonking value at 1.9620/21. Admittedly any Australia team in any format has not won in 12 attempts, but that run cannot continue for much longer. Pakistan tipping guru, Salman Victor, disagrees and is on the hosts.
With 389 runs in the last 12 months opener Hales is the third-highest runscorer in the world. Wright is next-best Englishman with 346. But, as ever, we like Morgan. He has 275 in that list but he is big at 5.805/1. His experience against a good Aussie attack could be crucial.
Watson and Warner are 4.407/2 and 4.607/2 respectively. That seems fair. In terms of the run lists, they have superior games-to-runs ratios than Hales, just to ram home that point about the gap in consistently displayed ability. Watson has 337 in just nine matches, five fewer than Hales. Warner is 340 in 11.