England into Super 8s as Australia break Scotland's hearts

By Sports Desk June 16, 2024

England qualified for the Super 8s at the T20 World Cup at Scotland's expense after Australia completed a dramatic chase to eliminate Richie Berrington's team in St Lucia. 

England's hopes of extending their title defence were left in Australia's hands following their 41-run, rain-affected victory over Namibia in Antigua earlier on Saturday.

That result meant Scotland needed a win to progress, while Australia had already clinched their place in the next stage and had nothing to play for.

England's old enemies did not treat it like a dead rubber, though, as Travis Head (68) and Marcus Stoinis (59) starred with the bat, the latter hitting his total from just 29 balls including nine fours and two maximums.

That ensured they chased down a daunting target of 181 with just two balls to spare as Scotland gave a good account of themselves once again.

It had looked like Scotland's innings might be a short one when Michael Jones went for two after just six balls, but they recovered to reach 92-2 as Brandon McMullen made 60 off 34 deliveries.

However, his vital wicket fell when he got a thick outside edge on Adam Zampa's delivery, Mitchell Starc diving to complete a clean catch.

Skipper Berrington hit an unbeaten 42 but Scotland's total would prove to be insufficient, some expensive bowling costing them as even Safyaan Sharif's two wickets came at a cost of 44 runs. 

While Scotland have now fallen at the first hurdle on five of their six T20 World Cup appearances, England live to fight another day.

The 2022 victors will now face both co-hosts, the United States and West Indies, as well as South Africa, in Group 2 at the Super-8 stage.

Data Debrief: Thrill of the chase for Australia 

Earlier this week, England fans were put on edge when Josh Hazlewood suggested it might be in Australia's "best interests" to take it easy against Scotland and send their old rivals home. 

Six dropped catches from the Australian fielders might have had England fearing the worst as Scotland reached 180-5, but the Aussie batters can never be ruled out.

Their strike rate of 160.2 in the final five overs when chasing at the T20 World Cup is the second highest of any team, behind only West Indies (163.8).

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