by Rex Clementine

England had a few nervous moments in the Caribbean. Saturday could have been their last day in the World Cup and they might as well packed their bags on Sunday. The defending champions hadn’t had the best of starts in the campaign and were facing elimination as it rained in Antigua. England would have finished on five points if there was a no result which meant Scotland would go through even if they lose to Australia in other game of the group in St. Lucia on better Net Run Rate.

Thankfully for England the rain stopped. They won a rain reduced game against Namibia leaving the Scots to beat Australia in the last group game to go through. It proved to be an uphill task.

Scotland put up a brave show at Darren Sammy Stadium after being put into bat. They were going helter-skelter having reached 92 for one inside nine overs and a total in excess of 200 looked to be on the cards at that stage.

George Munsey and Brandon McMullen added 89 runs in 48 balls for the second wicket. The two batters were taking Australia’s spinners Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa apart. It was the part-time spin of Glenn Maxwell that provided the breakthrough when Munsey tried to clear the deep mid-wicket boundary but found Nathan Eliis.

McMullen went on to complete his half-century and finished up with 60 that came off 34 balls with two fours and six sixes. Mithcell Starc took a good catch at short third man as Zampa struck after being carted all around the ground by McMullen.

Australia’s fielding is generally quite good but in this game they spilled three catches.

Sensible batting by  Richie Berrington ensured that Scotland reached 180 for five as the spinners did well to pull things back after leaking too many early on.

This was interesting tactics by Mithcell Marsh, who relied on spin for 12 overs and didn’t bring himself on or introduce Marcus Stoinis.

Inside the Power Play, Australia lost David Warner and Marsh and had just 34 runs on the board. But batting depth for Australia means that they can chase down big totals.

Scotland’s bowling was barely threatening as well.

Travis Head top scored with 68 while Stonis made 59 to knock Scotland out with two ball to spare. England went through on a better Net Run Rate.

Australia could have sealed England’s fate by letting Scotland win, but they made only two changes and played aggressively to progress to the second round with an unbeaten record.

As for Scotland, they showed lot of courage before coming down short.