Australia Captain Mitchell Marsh.
Australia Captain Mitchell Marsh. Image Credit: X

The 2021 champions of the T20 World Cup, Australia had already qualified for the ‘super eight’ stage for the ninth edition of the tournament, coming into their last group game against Scotland at the Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, St Lucia. However, their victory would ensure England would qualify for the second round of the competition.

At the end of the last game against Namibia, there was a bit of speculation about how would Australia play their last group game, especially after their experienced fast bowler Josh Hazlewood commented that they could manipulate the result to eliminate the rivals England out of the tournament.

The ICC and the whole general came up with the new development that if the match referee and the other match officials find any evidence of such, then their captain Mitchell Marsh could be ruled out of the first two games in the ‘Super Eight’ stage of the tournament.

Australia dropped the most catches in a T20 World Cup game

Winning the toss, the Australia captain Marsh opted to bowl first on a surface that was expected to get slow as the game would progress later in the evening, as they rested their two experienced pacers- Pat Cummins and Hazlewood for the contest.

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On the last ball of the very first over, Ashton Agar, who was playing his customary one game in a tournament, as he has done for the previous four T20 World Cups, drew the first blood with the wicket of Micheal Jones. George Munsey went off to a great start with the bat as he managed to put 35 runs in 23 balls.

The number three batter for the Scotland side, Brandon McMullen notched up his fourth fifty in T20Is, to end with an individual score of 60 runs in 34 balls, as they were looking in a great position to close their first innings in over 200 runs, at the halfway mark.

But Australia made a great comeback in the game with the comparatively old ball, as the batters found it quite tough to drill the off-cutter specialist Nathan Ellis out of the park. The captain of the Scotland team, Richie Berrington stayed unbeaten on 42 runs in 31 balls to push them to 180/5 in 20 overs.

For the lion’s share of the first innings, it felt like a different Australia team was fielding in the encounter, as the fielders kept on dropping the catches, increasing the pressure on the England players and the fans.

Australia went in to drop as many as six catches in the game, to register an unwanted record of dropping the most catches in a T20I game during the World Cup.

They didn’t start the batting in a great way too, with only three runs coming in the first couple of overs, including losing opener David Warner, as the left-handed aggressive batter Travis Head kept on struggling in the middle until he got some timing in the middle overs.

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From the other end, the Scotland bowlers kept on taking the wickets, as they sent back the Australia captain before Mark Watt bowled an absolute jaffa to break the off-stump of Glenn Maxwell. But it was Marcus Stoinis, who has been going through a special tournament, to come and nail 59 runs in 29 balls, shouldering on nine boundaries and two sixes to put them on the verge of victory.

Tim David and Matthew Wade took the game deep, before almost fumbling the win. With five wickets in hand and a pair of deliveries to spare, Australia went over the line, to finish the group stage with an unbeaten run.

They will face Afghanistan on June 23, at the Arnos Vale Ground, in Kingstown, St Vincent, before Australia faces India, for the very first time in any format, since the end of the last ODI World Cup 2023 final, on June 24 in St Lucia. The Aussies will also take on one of Bangladesh or Netherlands (yet to be decided) on June 21 at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Antigua.