Drama aplenty at T20 Cricket World Cup as England secure semi-final spot

With so many teams accruing the same number of wins after three games, booking a semi-final spot in the T20 World Cup became a convoluted set of scenarios that relied heavily on other results and the strength of one’s net run-rate. After New Zealand and India locked in a semi-final appearance with wins over Ireland and Bangladesh respectively – the second semi-finalist from each of the two groups would be contested by a number of nations – with the criteria to qualify for some teams more difficult than others.

Hosts Australia and cricketing rivals England were battling it out for the second spot in Group 1, with the advancing team to take on leaders of Group 2 India at the Adelaide Oval. With that in mind, read on as we take a look at Australia and England’s dramatic final Super 12 fixtures as they competed for a place in the semi-final.

For those who follow the ICC World Twenty20 betting odds, given England’s superior net run-rate, they entered their final game as the favourites to advance.

Australia vs Afghanistan

At worst Australia needed a win. However, with their net run-rate being so poor at -.304 – winning in convincing fashion was the only way in which they could guarantee a semi-final appearance without having to rely on the result from the England and Sri Lanka game. After starting incredibly well and shooting out to 121/4 off 14 overs courtesy of solid knocks to David Warner (25), Mitchell Marsh (45), Marcus Stoinis (25) and Glenn Maxwell (54 not out) – the Aussies were on track to potentially score in excess of 200 runs.

However, some beautiful bowling at the death from the Afghans ensured they managed to hold their opposition to just 47 runs over the final six overs. Registering a total of 168/8 – Australia needed to bowl Afghanistan out for 106 to assure a match-up with Virat Kohli and company. They couldn’t manage to do so, as the Afghans put up a valiant and extremely competitive effort thanks to a brilliant batting display from Rashid Khan, who recorded 48 not out off just 23 deliveries. The Middle Eastern nation came within a whisker of ending the Australians’ semi-final hopes there and then – however – fell short as they finished 164/7 after 20 overs – just four runs shy of their opposition.

As a result of the manner in which Australia won, the Andrew McDonald-coached side needed Sri Lanka to defeat England if they were to progress to the knockout stages of the tournament.

England vs Sri Lanka

England’s task was straight-forward – win and you’re through, lose and you’re out. After winning the toss and electing to bat, Sri Lanka started their innings well. Opening batsman Pathum Nissanka starred with the willow, scoring 67 from 45 balls – and received help from Kusal Medis and Bhanuka Rajapaksa who registered starts of 18 and 22 respectively.

That’s where the good news ended for the subcontinent nation, as their lower order capitulated down the stretch – managing just 12 runs across the final four wickets. England’s Mark Wood was the standout with the ball, taking three wickets for 26 runs. After 20 overs, Sri Lanka posted a less than impressive total of 141/8.

At the change of innings, England needed just 142 runs to win – and provided the way their opening batsmen began – it looked as though it was going to be an easy victory for Ben Stokes’ side. Cruising at 75/0, the live predictability metric had England as a 99% chance of progressing. Sri Lanka had other ideas however, and took six wickets for just 54 runs.

England’s run-rate suffered as a result, and before you knew it the Brendon McCullum-coached side were in an incredibly tight affair with two overs left in the match. Needing 13 runs off the final 12 deliveries, Stokes and Chris Woakes chased the total down and secured their semi-final match-up against India with just two balls remaining. Stokes displayed a true captain’s knock at the crease, scoring 42 not out.



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