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T20 World Cup: Australia clinch classic against Scotland, England make Super 8

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Shillong, June 16: Australia rallied late to end Scotland’s qualifying dreams with a 5-wicket win in the group B match on Sunday (as per IST) at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, helping nemesis England to progress into the Super Eight of the T20 World Cup.

 

Needing a victory to move forward and end England’s title defence, the Scots made the unbeaten Aussies dig incredibly deep for the win. Scotland posted a total of 180/5 in 20 overs.

 

In response, Australia needed 19.4 overs to chase down the total. Marcus Stoinis and Travis Head slammed half-centuries and put on 80 for the fourth wicket off just 44 balls to take their team over the line.

 

Putting Scotland to bat first, Australia’s masterstroke of calling Ashton Agar to the team worked well as he dismissed Michael Jones in the first over. But Scotland quickly overcame the early blow, compiling 54 runs in the Powerplay through Brandon McMullen and George Munsey

 

Munsey went 6-6-4 to end the fifth over, a costly sequence off Glenn Maxwell’s bowling. McMullen brought up his 50 off just 26 balls in the eighth over.

 

Maxwell then took the breakthrough wicket, dismissing Munsey (35 off 23) in the ninth over, which ended an 89-run partnership. Scotland reached 96/2 at the drinks break, and then captain Richie Berrington joined the action with a boundary.

 

In-form spinner Adam Zampa dismissed McMullen (60 off 34), and Maxwell, in his final over, claimed the wicket of Matthew Cross (18 off 11) with a full toss. Berrington (42*) anchored Scotland’s innings, pushing them to a total of 180 as Australia worked hard to slow the run rate.

 

In the process, Australia made unwanted history, becoming the first team in T20 World Cup history to drop six catching opportunities.

 

Defending 180, Scotland landed an early blow with the ball, as Brad Wheal forced David Warner to sky a delivery that moved across him and Berrington hold on to a good catch.

 

Travis Head tried to take the initiative to keep Australia’s chase ticking over. Then Mitchell Marsh holed out at deep midwicket to start the sixth over. Australia were reeling 36/2 in the Powerplay.

 

Australia’s first six came in the seventh over from Head, who moved into the 30s. However, Maxwell (11 off 8) was soon dismissed by a sharp spinning ball from Mark Watt that hit the off stump. The Aussies were 74/3 at drinks with Marcus Stoinis at the crease.

 

After the drinks break, Head and Stoinis sparked Australia’s fightback with an 80-run partnership featuring 12 boundaries. Head reached 50 before being caught by Jones at long off, leaving Australia at 140/4 in the 16th over.

 

Then, Stoinis took charge, continuing his powerful hitting. He smashed 59 runs off 29 balls before being bowled while attempting a reverse sweep.

 

Afterwards, Tim David (24* off 14) brought Australia’s target down to a run-a-ball in the 17th over. With plenty of wickets in hand, Australia clinched victory with two balls to spare, doing England a huge favour.

 

A heavy defeat against Australia followed by a resounding win over Oman plus a washout against Scotland in the opener had left the defending champion England in a perilous position. And even a win against Namibia was not enough as their fate depended on the result between Australia and Scotland.

 

If Scotland had defeated Australia, it would have ended England’s hopes of defending their title.

 

Brief scores: Brief scores: Scotland 180/5 in 20 overs (Brandon McMullen 60, Richie Berrington 42*; Adam Zampa 1-30) lost to Australia 186/5 in 19.4 overs (Travis Head 68, Marcus Stoinis 59; Mark Watt 2-34) by five wickets. (IANS)

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