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T20 World Cup: England captain Jos Buttler gets Joe Root's backing ahead of crunch Oman clash

Joe Root on England's T20 World Cup hopes: "When they've got their backs to the wall, which they have in this situation now, is when they play their best cricket"; watch England face Oman, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 7.30pm, Thursday (first ball 8pm)

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Sky Sports News' Jamie Weir explains how England's two BIGGEST sporting rivals Australia and Scotland can make sure that they go home early from the T20 World Cup.

Joe Root has backed under-pressure Jos Buttler to remain as England's limited-overs captain.

England's 36-run defeat to Australia on Saturday has left them facing a battle to make the knockout stages of the T20 World Cup, which, coming on the back of last year's dismal defence of their 50-over crown, has piled the pressure on Buttler and head coach Matthew Mott.

But former Test skipper Root is confident Buttler can guide England into the latter stages, starting with victory in their crunch clash with Oman on Thursday - live on Sky Sports Cricket from 7.30pm (first ball 8pm).

Live ICC Men's T20 World Cup

Asked if Buttler should stay on, Root said: "Jos is one of my good friends. I think he's a brilliant captain, so I don't think there's any question.

"I think they'll be absolutely fine, they've got a wonderful squad of players. They know exactly what they need to do.

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Nasser Hussain and Michael Atherton reflect on England's T20 World Cup defeat to Australia, including how the decision to bowl Will Jacks in the powerplay backfired

"When it's all laid out and they've got their backs to the wall, which they have in this situation now, is when they play their best cricket.

"It could really bring the best out of them, so I've got no worries whatsoever.

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"If they go out and do what they all know that they're capable of doing, we'll be finding ourselves in the Super 8s and the back-end of the tournament where it really matters to play our best stuff."

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Highlights from Barbados as England suffered a 36-run defeat to Australia to remain winless at the T20 World Cup

Mott hopes Hazlewood comments are 'tongue in cheek'

After Australia's Josh Hazlewood told reporters that knocking England out of the T20 World Cup would be "in our best interests as well as probably everyone else", England coach Mott believes the comments were just the result of "a very good sense of humour".

Australia's final Group B match against Scotland in St Lucia on Saturday could decide England's fate, with them needing to beat Oman and Namibia in their remaining group matches and hope Scotland suffer a heavy defeat.

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Australia thrashed Namibia to progress to the Super 8s at the ICC T20 World Cup

Hazlewood floated the idea that Australia, already qualified, could "knock it around and drag it out" in the final group match against Scotland, boosting their opponents' net run-rate and moving England towards the exit door.

"I think I know Josh pretty well and I know his integrity. He's got a very good sense of humour," said Mott, who coached Hazlewood at New South Wales previously.

"I am hoping it was very much tongue in cheek. I actually don't think it is ever going to play out. 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."

Australia's Josh Hazlewood celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of New Zealand's Finn Allen during the T20 cricket international between Australia and New Zealand at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)
Image: Could Josh Hazlewood's comments see Australia come under scrutiny from the ICC?

Hazlewood's response could earn the attention of the International Cricket Council, with Clause 2.11 of the Code of Conduct covering "any attempt to manipulate an International Match for inappropriate strategic or tactical reasons".

As captain, Mitch Marsh would be liable for any such offence and be liable for two suspension points - effectively a two-match ban in white-ball cricket.

Mott, eager to move on from any distractions, stressed the Australia-Scotland game becomes an irrelevance should England fail to do their part and first beat Oman and Namibia handsomely.

"That's all we can do, regardless of any outside noise, qualification, run-rates. We've got to win this game," he said.

"We're going to prepare really well for that. If we get in a dominant position and can push hard, we will, but if we have to scrap and fight to get the two points we will as well.

"Hopefully there's still a lot of cricket left for us and the challenge ahead is something we're excited by. We're not daunted by it, we're excited. That's genuine."

Group B standings

Australia, England, Scotland Cricket T20 World Cup
Image: England must beat Oman and Namibia and hope Australia can do them a favour and knock Scotland out of the T20 World Cup

What are the permutations?

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.

Scotland have beaten both Oman and Namibia, meaning they have five points already - the maximum amount that England can now finish the group stage with.

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Highlights of Oman against Scotland from the T20 World Cup

If England defeat Oman on Thursday at 8pm, and Namibia on Saturday at 6pm, both live on Sky Sports, all eyes will be on the fixture between Scotland and Australia from 1am, also live on Sky Sports.

In that scenario, Scotland avoiding defeat against Australia would see them advance while sending England home. However, if Australia win, then second place in the group would be decided by net run-rate.

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