England v Australia T20Is - Men's
No.1 ranking up for grabs in final ENGvAUS T20
England could prise away Australia's spot at top of ICC's T20I rankings with victory in series finale on Wednesday morning (AEST)
8 September 2020, 07:50 AM AEST
Australia's No.1 T20 ranking will go on the line tonight, with England able to take top spot from their Ashes rivals if they seal a series sweep in Southampton.
After winning the opening two matches of their T20 series, an England victory in the third game (Wednesday 3am AEST, broadcast live in Australia on Fox Cricket & Kayo) will see them dethrone Australia from the top of the ICC rankings, a spot the Aussies claimed for the very first time back in May.
Having won nine of their previous 10 matches heading into the series, Australia have now lost two games in a row for the first time in nearly two years.
But allrounder Ashton Agar says the two defeats have not drastically changed Australia's approach, which has been so successful over the past 18 months.
"It's a shame and it really hurts to lose a series, but we look around the change rooms and we know we're a really good team," he said.
"We're a really, really good T20 team and if we just win a couple of those small moments, it shows we're super competitive against the best teams in the world.
"We certainly take a lot of pride in being the No.1 ranked team in the world. It's a great feeling and it's nice walking out knowing that and it's nice to look around the room knowing you're a part of that. It's a lovely team to be a part of and it's a lot of fun.
"That will spur us on, but really we just want to win whatever game that's in front of us at that time.
"That's what contributes to being No.1 in the world and we've been really consistent over the past 18 months and we need to move forward that way as well."
Agar said Australia's extended break from the game has not been used as an excuse against an England line-up that has been playing for much of the northern summer, adding the manner of the two losses has only added to their desire to prevent a whitewash.
The Aussies dominated much of the opening game only to lose after a dramatic late batting collapse and while they were outplayed for much of game two, they were able to take the match into the late overs of England's run chase.
"There's never leeway in international cricket, but there's been a lot more positives to come out of it than negatives," Agar said.
"That first game to come out and bowl the way we did … and then start so well with the bat, to get two runs away from winning the game, there were massive positives.
"We had a small collapse there and that hurt us, but we were so close to winning that game. Even last night, we were right in it up until the last couple of overs."
England, who will be without star wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler (family reasons) for the series finale, haven't been on top of the T20 rankings since 2012.
"It's been talked about loosely, but I don't think we go into series to become the No.1 or No.2 or No.3 team," batsman Dawid Malan said.
"Our aim is to win every series we play in, win every game and it's about finding ways to win those games. Eoin always speaks about the way he wants us to play and as long as we keep playing the way he wants us to play against a specific opposition, we're happy with that.
"But if we do manage to win tomorrow and put the Aussies under more pressure, it'll be fantastic to finish No.1."
2020 Tour of England
Australia's T20 and ODI squad: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Daniel Sams, Kane Richardson, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa
England T20I squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonathan Bairstow, Tom Banton, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood. Reserves: Liam Livingstone, Saqib Mahmood
England ODI squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonathan Bairstow, Tom Banton, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood. Reserves: Joe Denly, Saqib Mahmood