How Australia can help the old enemy advance at T20 World Cup

How Australia can help the old enemy advance at T20 World Cup Australia’s captain Mitchell Marsh celebrates with Mitchell Starc after defeating England last Sunday (AEST).

Australia could turf reigning champions England out of the Twenty20 World Cup by resting players for the last group match against Scotland, but coach Andrew McDonald insists his team’s focus is elsewhere.

Should England defeat Namibia and Oman, their hopes of reaching the last eight are likely to hinge on the outcome of the final Group B game between their Ashes rivals and their northern neighbours.

Australia’s next match is against Namibia in Antigua on Wednesday morning (AEST) and victory would give the 2021 T20 World Cup champions three wins, assuring a place in the Super Eight play-offs.

However, in typical coaching fashion, McDonald refused to look past that next clash.

“We’re not really focused on England and where they’re at. We played them, we’ve moved past them and we’ll do what’s important to us,” McDonald told a media conference.

“We haven’t got the option of talking about that at the moment. Namibia, first and foremost.

“England have clearly got their own work to do in the next couple of games.

“It’s always difficult. You’re always dependent on other results and, yeah, it’s not a nice situation to be in, but as I said that’s for them to work through, not us.

“We’ve got Namibia in front of us and that’s our focus, not England.”

Victory over Namibia would create the chance for Australia to rest some of their stars, further complicating England’s chances of defending the title they won in Australia two years ago.

“We need a win to guarantee ourselves a way through. After that, once we’ve firmed up that qualification, then we can start to look at that potential if we feel like it’s necessary,” McDonald said.

With a washout against Scotland and loss to Australia, England are yet to win a game and can do no better than two victories.

After a strong win over Oman on Monday (AEST), chasing down 150 in 13.1 overs, Scotland lead Group B with five points from two wins and a washout. Their remaining match is against Australia on Sunday morning (AEST).

Australia should finish on top of Group B, but even if England win their last two matches, net run-rate looks set to be the deciding factor.

Scotland’s run rate is 2.164 after a strong start to the tournament against their fellow minnows, while England’s is -1.8. That could change dramatically if England have big wins over Namibia and Oman.

Australia have form at manipulating run rates in a World Cup, albeit from 25 years ago.

After a difficult start to the 1999 tournament under the captaincy of Steve Waugh, Australia contrived a go-slow against the West Indies.

Matthew Engel of The Guardian wrote “the result was a dreadful and shameful game of cricket”. It pushed New Zealand out of the tournament while making sure that Australia and the West Indies both went through to the last six.

Having bowled the West Indies out for just 110, Australia got within 19 of victory with almost half their overs left then barely scored for 13 overs.

With AAP

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