Mott hopes Hazlewood's England comments were 'tongue in cheek'

By Sports Desk June 12, 2024

Matthew Mott is hopeful Josh Hazlewood's comments about wanting England eliminated from the T20 World Cup were "tongue in cheek", with the reigning champions' title defence hanging in the balance.

After their opening match against Scotland was rained off - and defeat by Australia - Mott's England must now beat Oman and Namibia in their remaining Group B games - while significantly boosting their net run-rate - to stand any chance of advancing to the Super 8s.

However, England would be knocked out on Sunday if Scotland were to beat Australia, who have already qualified for the next phase after winning each of their first three matches, while a narrow Australian win could also dethrone them.

Hazlewood acknowledged it would be in Australia's "best interest" if England were eliminated, and discussed the possibility of his side attempting to benefit the Scots' net run-rate at the defending champions' expense.

"Having grown up in Australia and with the will to win every game, I am sure they will come to the fore," Mott told BBC Sport. "I am very much hoping it was an off-hand remark by a really good bloke who is having fun.

"Knowing Josh, he has got a pretty dry sense of humour. I am hoping it was very much tongue in cheek."

With their 100 per cent record intact, the reigning Cricket World Cup winners and World Test champions are full of confidence as they look to complete the sweep of global international honours.

Adam Zampa played a starring role in the commanding victory over Namibia last time out, with an impressive 4-12 making him the first Australian to claim 100 T20I wickets.

He has also now claimed the most wickets for his nation at the T20 World Cup (31) - surpassing Mitchell Starc (29), and skipper Mitchell Marsh paid tribute to the spin bowler.

"If you look at his career, especially over the last five years, he's probably our most important player," Marsh said.

"He loves the big moment, loves the pressure, and that comes with experience. He's bowling beautifully at the moment, so we're lucky to have him."

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