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19-ball history-making statement to Aussies

Cricket: Men's T20 World Cup, Group B, England v Oman
England destroyed Oman at the T20 World Cup. Picture: Randy Brooks / AFP

England took just 19 balls to put an end to talk of a possible Australian “go slow” to boot the defending champions out of the T20 World Cup early, demolishing Oman with the quickest run chase in tournament history and all but booking passage to the next round.

While Australian star Pat Cummins said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if there were significant changes for the final pool clash against Scotland, he also said it would be “against the spirit of cricket” to not try to win.

After smashing Namibia on Wednesday, Australian fast bowler Josh Hazlewood said it would be in his team’s “best interests” to see England removed from the tournament early, knowing they needed Scotland to lose that final match for the reining champions to progress, sparking outrage among opponents.

But England went out and made their own statement, rolling Oman for just 47 in an old-fashioned rout before captain Jo Buttler smashed 24 runs off just eight balls as they chased down the target inside four overs, the fastest run chase in World Cup history.

England’s net run rate jumped to 3.08, ahead of Scotland’s 2.16. England needs to beat Namibia in their final game to secure their passage, while Scotland would need to push Australia now.

“We spoke in the lead-up about ‘we have to win games and if we get a chance we have to take advantage with the net run rate’, and we managed to do that today,” Buttler said, dismissing Hazlewood’s comments.

“I’ve been around long enough to know that people make comments. We know what’s going on in the dressing room. We have another huge match to come. We can only control what we do, all focus is on that.”

After the fallout from Hazlewood’s comments, which Cummins said were “taken a bit out of context”, the Australian star said trying to deliberately influence net run rate would contravene the game’s moral code.

“When you go out and play, you’re trying your best every time,” Cummins said in St Lucia.

“And if you’re not, it’s probably against the spirit of cricket. I haven’t really thought too deeply because it’s never really popped up.

“I don’t (think) you can – ever. You’re playing an international game in the middle of a World Cup.

“You still want to try and have a good game and carry that on into the Super Eights.

“I’ve never stepped onto the field without the mindset of being aggressive like the guys have so far.”

But changes for the final pool game against Scotland remain on the table ahead of a frantic run of games to the final, should Australia progress that far.

“I haven’t spoken to the selectors or anyone, so I don’t know what they’re thinking,” Cummins said.

“But I wouldn’t be surprised (if there are changes against Scotland).

“I know going into the start of the tournament, in a perfect world, we’d get a game into just about all the squad members, so I wouldn’t be surprised.”