England coach Matthew Mott has expressed hope that Josh Hazlewood’s comments about potentially manipulating net run-rate in Australia’s match against Scotland to help eliminate England from the T20 World Cup were made in humour.

England, set to face Oman in Antigua on Thursday, must win their remaining matches convincingly to match Scotland’s points and potentially surpass their net run-rate. Hazlewood had mentioned that it could be in Australia’s “best interests” for England to be knocked out, hinting at the possibility of Australia playing in a way that could benefit Scotland’s net run-rate.

Mott, speaking to BBC Sport, said, “Having grown up in Australia and the will to win every game, I am sure they will come to the fore. I am very much hoping it was an off-hand remark by a really good bloke who is having fun.”

Scotland will play Australia on Saturday, after England’s final match, leaving Australia in a position to potentially influence the standings based on their performance.

After beating Namibia and qualifying for the Super 8s, Josh Hazlewood said in the post-match press conference, “In this tournament, you potentially come up against England again, and they’re probably one of the top few teams on their day. We’ve had some real struggles against them in T20 cricket, so if we can get them out of the tournament, that’s in our best interest as well as probably everyone else’s,” said Hazlewood.

While Australia became the first team to qualify from Group B, that means only 1 team can make it through with Australia out of the remaining 2 still in contention, Scotland and England.

England find themselves in a dire because of a their results vs Scotland and Australia. Their match vs Scotland was washed-out, giving both teams 1 point while Australia comfortably beat them by 36 runs. Meanwhile, the English’s neighbours Scotland beat Namibia and Oman by 5 wickets and 7 wickets respectively. That helped Scotland reach a Net Run Rate (NRR) of +2.164 whereas England have -1.800.

For England to qualify, they need to win both their matches vs Oman and Namibia by significant margins to have any chance of challenging Scotland’s NRR. If England beat’s Scotland in run rate, they will have 5 points, same as Scotland, and because of better NRR, they will be 2nd, that’s where they will need Australia to beat Scotland to qualify for the Super 8s.

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