Cricket-Australia end Scotland's World Cup, send England into Super Eight


  • Cricket
  • Sunday, 16 Jun 2024

Australia's Matthew Wade, right, is congratulated by Scotland's Michael Leask following the men's T20 World Cup cricket match between Australia and Scotland, at Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, Gros Islet, St Lucia, Saturday, June 15, 2024. - AP

(Reuters) -Australia broke Scottish hearts with a hardfought five-wicket victory in St Lucia on Saturday that sent the Scots home from the Twenty20 World Cup and title holders England through to the Super Eight stage.

After England's rain-disrupted victory over Namibia in Antigua earlier in the day, Scotland needed a draw, a washout or a first ever win over Australia to progress from Group B at the expense of their southern neighbours.

Clear skies at Gros Islet meant the Scots would be reliant on their cricketing skills and they made a good fist of it with 180-5 from their 20 overs highlighted by a quickfire 60 from Brandon McMullen and 42 not out from skipper Richie Berrington.

Australia, who had already booked their spot in the second round, will have been disappointed with their fielding and the start of their innings but Travis Head (68) and Marcus Stoinis (59) accelerated in the last 10 overs to help get them across the line.

"Scotland are a really good outfit, they took it down to the wire and it was a good chase in the end," said Australia captain Mitchell Marsh.

"The World Cup kind of starts again now, we're excited about what's to come."

Berrington, whose team depart because they had a lower net run rate than England, said the Scots were disappointed that they had not driven home their advantage.

"I thought we were in a pretty good position," he said.

"Unfortunately, we didn't execute for long enough. I think the guys can hold their heads high in regards to how they've played their cricket throughout the tournament."

Australia won the toss and elected to field first but after Ashton Agar had bowled opener Michael Jones in the first over, George Munsey and McMullen put together a partnership of 89 for the second wicket to lay a solid platform for Scotland.

Munsey holed out to midwicket for 35 off the bowling of Glenn Maxwell and Adam Zampa finally winkled out McMullen, who clubbed two sixes and six fours before Mitchell Starc sent him back with a diving catch.

Berrington took up the mantle but the Scots would have been disappointed to score only 42 runs in their final five overs as the Australian bowlers tightened the screws to make up for a fielding effort that had seen a flurry of dropped catches.

The Scots took some momentum into the Australian innings, however, and David Warner (1), Marsh (8) and Maxwell (11) were removed cheaply, the latter bowled by a peach of a delivery from left-arm spinner Mark Watt.

Opener Travis Head, however, was warming to the task and Marcus Stoinis joined in him a partnership of 80 for the third wicket that turned the tide.

Head decisively clubbed three sixes off successive legal deliveries from Safyaan Sharif soon and although the Scottish seamer immediately ended his innings, the Australians had the scent of victory in their nostrils.

Watt returned to remove Stoinis in the following over but Tim David and Matthew Wade got Australia across the line to silence the conspiracy theorists suggesting Australia would try to lose to remove England from the tournament.

(Reporting by John Mehaffey in Georgetown, editing by Lincoln Feast and Miral Fahmy)

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