Australia salvage England's T20 World Cup campaign with dramatic win over Scotland

The Aussies had England fans sweating in their final group match.

Australia have given England an almighty scare at the T20 World Cup as they scraped past Scotland in St Lucia to claim victory in the final over. With their own progression to the Super Eight stage already guaranteed, Australia were well below their best as they chased down Scotland's 5-180 with two balls to spare.

Travis Head and Marcus Stoinis led the way with the bat for the Aussies, each notching a half-century to dig Australia out of a hole in an 80-run stand that flipped the match on its head. Tim David and Matthew Wade took the game to the death, before a dropped catch from Chris Sole in the last over saw Australia register a five-wicket win.

The result means England will join Australia in progressing out of Group B, thanks to a superior net run rate than Scotland. While on paper Australia were clear favourites against the Scots, for a large part of the match it appeared England's tournament could be over.

The Aussies had England fans sweating in their final group match, narrowly scraping past Scotland. Image: Getty
The Aussies had England fans sweating in their final group match, narrowly scraping past Scotland. Image: Getty

With Pat Cummins rested and Stoinis not bowling, Australia sent Scotland in first but dropped six catches in the field and looked at risk of their first ever T20 loss to an associate nation. Both Marsh and Travis Head dropped chances in the fourth over, handing George Munsey and Brandon McMullen each an extra life.

With the extra life, Munsey went on to make 35 off 23. While McMullen was devastating with the bat in hand. His rapid-fire 60 off 34 set the platform for Scotland to give Australia a serious score to try and chase down.

A late hitting exhibition by Richie Berrington (42 not out from 31 balls) steered Scotland towards its highest score in T20 World Cup history. Maxwell finished with 2-44, while Zampa was the pick of the Australian bowlers with 1-30.

In reply, Australia struggled in the early going and were just 1-36 after six overs - their slowest powerplay of the competition. At the ten-over mark, Australia needed 107 runs to win and England would have been contemplating booking their flights home.

But Head (68 from 49 balls) and Stoinis (59 off 29) were able to bat their side back into the match. With 89 needed from 42 balls, Stoinis smacked 18 off one over from Safyaan Sharif, including an incredible switch-hit him for six and then backed it up clearing the rope down the ground the very next ball.

With 60 needed from the final overs, Head hit Sharif for three straight sixes before eventually being caught down the ground a few balls later. But by then the damage was done and any thought of Australia deliberately knocking England out of the tournament had been shown up as a myth. David finished the job, knocking Scotland out and taking Australia unbeaten into the Super Eights, where they are likely to face India, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Australia's Travis Head (L) reacts after getting a 50 during the ICC men's Twenty20 World Cup 2024 group B cricket match between Australia and Scotland at Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in Gros Islet, St. Lucia, June 15, 2024. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)
Travis Head led the way for the Aussies with the bat.

Australian cricket fans were licking their lips this week at the prospect of knocking out their bitter rivals by letting Scotland win their final group-stage match and speculation that could unfold grew on Wednesday as Hazlewood said it would be in Australia's "best interests" to do what was needed to knock the Poms out.

But Andrew McDonald's side were adamant that they wanted to progress through to the next stage with a win. "It's the same as any other game, it's a World Cup game. We have a lot of respect for Scotland. It should be a hard-fought contest," Marsh said. "But we're playing for Australia. We're here to win."

However, England fans were understandably nervous and after defeating Namibia, their fan page 'England's Barmy Army' which has over 470,000 followers tweeted: "Over to you, cricket Australia" with a winky face emoji. The reaction to that tweet from English fans was rather pessimistic with many believing Australia will throw the match.

with AAP