Ashes rivals handed World Cup lifeline after Aussie secure tense ...

27 days ago

England’s T20 World Cup campaign is alive – and Jos Buttler’s men have Australia to thank.

Scotland has been eliminated from the T20 World Cup after suffering an agonising five-wicket loss to Australia at Saint Lucia’s Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium on Sunday morning AEST.

Scotland vs Australia - Figure 1
Photo Fox Sports

The associate nation looked poised to cause a massive upset after Australia stumbled early in the run chase, but blazing fifties from opener Travis Head and all-rounder Marcus Stoinis ensured the 181-run target was reeled in with two balls to spare.

MATCH CENTRE: T20 World Cup, Australia vs Scotland scorecard

“Scotland are a really good outfit, I think they’ve improved a hell of a lot over the last few years. We’ve got a lot of respect for them, they took it down to the wire,” Australian captain Mitchell Marsh said during the post-match presentation.

“They took it down to the wire.

“Tonight, having already qualified, there was a little bit less pressure on us as a team, but whenever our team has been challenged over this last little period, it brings the best out of our group,

“We pushed right to the end.”

The result means England will progress through to the next stage of the tournament, joining the undefeated Australians in the Super Eights.

Marcus Stoinis of Australia. Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Australia was sluggish with the bat and sloppy in the field, putting down a whopping six catches, multiple of which would have been considered regulation chances. At one stage, the 2021 champions dropped catches on three consecutive deliveries, while Nathan Ellis fumbled a simple run out on the penultimate ball of Scotland’s innings.

Meanwhile, Scotland will return home after almost inflicting Australia’s first loss to an associate nation in any format since 1983, missing out on the Super Eights due to net run rate.

“The guys can hold their heads high in terms of how they’ve played their cricket throughout this tournament,” Scotland captain Richie Berrington said during the post-match presentation.

“Obviously we’re disappointed after being in a position where we could win the game.

“We said when we came here we wanted to go through to the next stage, but unfortunately we haven’t quite done enough this time around.”

ONE-RUN Warner sent on his way | 00:28

Australia’s run chase got off to a horror start when veteran opener David Warner and Marsh both departed while slogging during the Powerplay, dismissed for 1 and 8 respectively.

Head should have joined them in the sheds in the fifth over, but Michael Jones dropped a high chance at long-on, handing the Australian opener an early reprieve on 15.

A few overs later, Scotland spinner Mark Watt bamboozled the out-of-form Glenn Maxwell with a ripping delivery that turned past the outside edge and cannoned into the stumps, bowled for 11.

The boundaries dried up in the middle overs, with Australia at one stage needing 87 runs from 39 deliveries for victory. However, Stoinis stomped on the accelerator in the 14th over, clobbering five consecutive boundaries to swing momentum back in Australia’s favour.

Head reached his half-century in 45 deliveries before slapping a trio of sixes against Safyaan Sharif, but picked out long off for 68 (49) later in the over. Stoinis, later name player of the match, only needed 25 deliveries to pass fifty, his second of the tournament to date, before miscuing a reverse sweep against Watt and bowled for 59 (29).

Tim David (24*) and Matthew Wade (4*) knocked off the remainder of the target, with Chris Sole dropping an outfield catch in the final over to ruin any chance of a late Scottish comeback.

Adam Zampa of Australia. Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Earlier, the Australians opted to rest star bowlers Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins for the group-stage contest after skipper Marsh won the toss and chose to bowl first.

After spinner Ashton Agar bowled Scotland opener Michael Jones in the first over of the match, George Munsey and Brandon McMullen combined for a destructive 89-run partnership for the second wicket to send a scare through the Australian camp.

McMullen only needed 26 deliveries to reach his half-century, a Scottish record in T20 World Cups, clearing the boundary rope on six occasions.

Munsey fell victim to part-time tweaker Glenn Maxwell in the ninth over, holing out towards deep mid-wicket for 35 (23) before leg-spinner Adam Zampa removed the dangerous McMullen for 60 (34), the highest score by a player for an associate nation against Australia in T20Is.

A late cameo from Berrington (42 not out from 31 balls) steered Scotland towards 5-180, its highest score in T20 World Cup history. Maxwell finished with 2-44, while Zampa was once again the pick of the Australian bowlers with 1-30 from four overs.

Australia will next face either Bangladesh or the Netherlands at Antigua’s Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on Friday, with the first ball scheduled for 10.30am AEST.

“‘The World Cup kind of starts again now,” Marsh laughed.

“We’ve made it through to the Super Eights, it’s going to be a busy schedule.

“T20 is a hard format. You can be slightly and lose to anyone.

“We’re excited for what’s to come.”

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