Knocking out England not on mind as Aussies beat Scots

Scott Bailey |

Marcus Stoinis’s 59 off 29 balls helped Australia win, and guaranteed England’s World Cup progress.
Marcus Stoinis’s 59 off 29 balls helped Australia win, and guaranteed England’s World Cup progress.

Mitchell Starc says Australia never considered laying down against Scotland to knock England out of the Twenty20 World Cup, after scraping to a last-over win in St Lucia.

With their own progression to the Super Eight stage already assured, Australia were well below their best as they chased down Scotland’s 5-180 with two balls and five wickets to spare.

Travis Head and Marcus Stoinis were the saviours for Australia, each hitting half-centuries and combining for an 80-run stand that changed the match.

Tim David and Matt Wade took the game to the death, before Chris Sole dropped David with three balls left, helping ensure Australia would stay unbeaten.

A Scotland win would have allowed them to qualify out of Group B ahead of England, with even Josh Hazlewood admitting last week that would have been a good result for Australia.

But Starc said that line was taken out of context, with England now progressing based on a superior net run-rate than Scotland’s.

Brandon McMullen top scored for Scotland as they posted 5-180.
Brandon McMullen top scored for Scotland as they posted 5-180. (AP PHOTO)

“A throw-away line has been blown way out of proportion,” Starc said after the win over Scotland.

“You don’t stuff around with Mother Cricket and try to worry about other results. 

“We’re here to win games. It’s international cricket. 

“England are now on the other side of the draw, so it really doesn’t make that much difference for the next three games.”

For long periods of the match, though, England may have feared they were headed for another spirit-of-cricket dust-up with Australia.. 

With Pat Cummins rested and Stoinis not bowling, Starc admitted Australia’s fielding was “terrible” as they dropped six catches and looked at risk of a first T20 loss to an associate nation.

Travis Head.
Travis Head’s half-century helped Australia save face – and save England – against Scotland. (AP PHOTO)

Brandon McMullen whacked 60 from 34 balls for the Scots, clubbing six sixes and regularly going inside out over long off.

Adam Zampa eventually got his wicket when he beat the right-hander in flight and had him well caught at short third-man by Starc, slowing Scotland’s momentum.

Glenn Maxwell claimed 2-44, suffering punishment before he out-thought opener George Munsey (35 off 23) in another crucial moment.

In reply, Australia struggled to catch fire and sat at 1-36 after six overs and their slowest powerplay of the competition.

When the equation reached 107 needed from the final 10 overs, England would have been considering 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.

Chris Sole.
Chris Sole drops Tim David with three balls left, helping Australia seal their narrow victory. (AP PHOTO)

Stoinis was the first to make an impact,

With 89 needed from 42 balls, he took 18 off one over from Safyaan Sharif when he switch-hit him for six then cleared the rope down the field next ball.

And then with 60 needed from the final five overs, Head hit Sharif for three straight sixes before being caught down the ground a few balls later.

By the time of Head’s dismissal, the damage was done and any thought of Australia deliberately knocking England out of the tournament had been exposed as myth.

“I was just trying to keep (Head) batting, and then he picked his bowler and turned the game in that over with those three sixes,” Stoinis said.

“There is no substitute for confidence. That is the recipe we are all trying to keep hold of – to be confident for as long as we can.”

Australia will now face India, Afghanistan and Bangladesh in their Super Eight group, unless Bangladesh are shocked by Nepal on Monday.