England wins to leapfrog Scotland into Super Eight stage

NORTH SOUND, Antigua (AP) — England's defense of the Twenty20 World Cup title is still alive after a must-win over Namibia in a rain-affected match, followed by a helping hand from traditional rivals Australia later on Saturday.

To reach the Super Eight, England first had to beat Namibia in their maiden T20 matchup. Persistent showers almost ruined the chance, but the match started three hours late and was reduced to 11 overs, then 10 overs after another heavy shower.

England was made to bat first and rallied to 122-5.

Namibia, given a rain-adjusted target of 126, managed only 84-3 and lost by 41 runs.

England did what it had to, then had to wait a few more hours and hope Scotland lost to Australia in Saint Lucia to be sure of advancing from Group B.

Australia, which had already qualified from Group B, were made to work but eventually overpowered Scotland in a five-wicket win to give England the result it needed to progress to the Super Eight.

England was anxious for most of the day, thanks to the weather. It had already suffered one washout — its opener against Scotland — and a second washout in four group games would have sent it home.

Because of what was at stake, the umpires waited as long as possible at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium to get play underway.

England lost the plot early. Only one run was taken from the opening over bowled by 39-year-old David Wiese; captain Jos Buttler was bowled for a duck by fast bowler Ruben Trumpelmann; and Wiese returned to nick out the other opener, Phil Salt.

England was 13-2 after 13 balls.

Jonny Bairstow and Harry Brook counterattacked. Bairstow made 31 off 18 balls just before the last rain delay. Brook finished with an unbeaten 47 off 20, and had late support from Moeen Ali and Liam Livingstone, who both contributed to taking 21 runs off the last over.

Namibia's chase was relatively fast but not fast enough. Opener Michael van Lingen, after 33 off 29, was pulled out under the pretense of retiring hurt, and Wiese inserted to up the run rate. He duly delivered 27 off 12 but it was too late.

It was the last international for allrounder Wiese, captain Gerhard Erasmus said. Wiese started with South Africa in 2013 but after five years off he debuted for Namibia in the 2021 T20 World Cup and was invaluable. “Inspired us to new heights,” Erasmus said.

Australia ends Scotland's dream

At Gros Islet, St Lucia, Group B leaders Australia were made to work hard in its maiden T20 matchup against Scotland before it rallied late to win by five wickets.

After England’s 41-run victory over Namibia in a rain-affected match earlier Saturday saw it jump into second place in the group standings, Scotland knew it had to beat Australia to advance to the Super Eight.

Scotland were made to bat first and built a competitive 180-5.

Australia were on the backfoot for most of its innings until some big-hitting from Travis Head (68 from 49 balls) and Marcus Stoinis (59 from 29 balls) seized back momentum in the late overs and saw the Aussies home.

Scotland seeking to make the playoff stage of a T20 World Cup for the first time started brightly with George Munsey (35 off 23 balls) and Brandon McMullen (60 off 34 balls) getting Scotland off to a brisk start after Michael Jones was bowled by Ashton Agar in the first over.

Captain Richie Berrington kept the scoreboard ticking for the Scots with an unbeaten 42 off 31 balls, but Australia’s closing bowlers off Nathan Ellis, Mitchell Starc and Adam Zampa restricted Scotland from getting closer to the 200 run total they looked like achieving for most of the innings.

Australia’s reply started shakily with David Warner out for one in the second over caught in the deep off Brad Wheal.

Captain Mitch Marsh never got going in his brief innings of eight off nine balls before he was Safyarn Shariff’s first wicket as Australia fell to 34-2 in a subdued powerplay.

Glenn Maxwell was then bowled by a brilliant offspin delivery from Mark Watt as Scotland’s hopes of reaching the Super Eight round were raised.

Scotland's bowlers were mostly disciplined in their line and length as they restricted Head and Stonis from finding the acceleration they needed to chase down the 181-run target.

But the match turned quickly in the 16th over when Head hit three sixes off Sharif (2-42) before he holed-out looking for another. Stoinis found another boundary off the final ball of the over to raise his half-century off 25 balls as Australia plundered a game-changing 24 runs.

Now needing 36 runs off the final four overs, Tim David (24 off 14 balls) made light work of the chase with a string of boundaries to finally end Scotland’s hopes of a famous victory and a spot in the Super Eight stage at England’s expense.

Australia topped Group B with eight points from four matches, with England leaping into second place on five points and ahead of Scotland on net run rate.

India washout

The India-Canada game in Florida was abandoned without a ball bowled.

The outfield in Broward County Stadium was too wet for play, and the match was called off only an hour after its scheduled morning start.

While there was light rain on Saturday morning, the outfield was damp from Friday showers which led to a second straight abandoned game at the venue. The United States-Ireland game on Friday never started. Pakistan and Ireland are scheduled to play at the ground on Sunday.

While the teams waited for a decision, India’s Rishabh Pant and coach Rahul Dravid went to the boundary to sign autographs, and Virat Kohli posed with some of the Canada players.

Unbeaten India had already qualified for the Super Eight as the Group A winner. Canada finished group play with only a precious win over Ireland.

India starts the Super Eight against Afghanistan on Thursday in Barbados.


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