Getting England out of the World Cup is in Australia’s best interest – Hazlewood

Australia booked their place in the Super 8 stage with a comprehensive nine-wicket victory over Namibia on Tuesday before Josh Hazlewood admitted it could be in their “best interest” to knock England out of the T20 World Cup.

Defending champions England are sweating on a place in the next phase of the tournament after a washout against Scotland was followed by a 36-run defeat to their Ashes rivals in Group B.

Scotland’s subsequent heavy win over Oman means England can only qualify for the Super 8 on net run-rate, which leaves their fate in the hands of old foes Australia.

England must firstly beat Oman on Thursday and Namibia on Saturday, but if Jos Buttler’s team are able to do that, all eyes will be on the final Group B fixture between Scotland and Australia.

The St Lucia match will begin hours after England’s clash with Namibia finishes, which could give Australia enough time to work out exactly what margin of victory for them would ensure they top the group but Scotland also progress as runners-up.

Hazlewood, who claimed two for 18 as Namibia were dismissed for 72, told a press conference: “In this tournament, you potentially come up against England at some stage 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 I think.

“It will be interesting to see, never really been in this position before as a team I don’t think.

“Whether we have discussions or not, or we just try and play again the way we played tonight, that will be up to people, not me.”

Hazlewood did the early damage for Australia at North Sound with two early scalps and while Namibia captain Gerhard Erasmus hit 36, Adam Zampa ran through the rest of their line-up on his way to fine figures of four for 12.

Australia needed only 34 balls to chase down 73, with Travis Head able to smash 34 off 17 balls and put on 53 for the second wicket with captain Mitchell Marsh, who ended unbeaten on 18.

A third consecutive victory for Australia sent them back to the Group B summit and through to the Super 8 stage before the narrative quickly shifted to England’s knock-out prospects.

Australia will not take net run-rate through to the Super 8 and therefore have no reason to push for a big win over Scotland on Saturday.

Pressed on what helping knock out England may look like, Aussie seam bowler Hazlewood admitted: “Not too sure really.

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“Whether you get close and just knock it around, drag it out.

“There are a few options there, but to take confidence from winning and winning well, I think that’s almost more important than potentially trying to knock someone else out.

“They (England) have still got a lot to do on their behalf as well. So, I think it will become clearer the closer we get to that sort of stuff.”