T20 WC Super Eight race: Winning Oman game in 19 balls give England edge over Scotland

England's net run-rate is now plus 3.08, ahead of Scotland's plus 2.164.

Jofra Archer and Jos Buttler Jofra Archer and Jos Buttler (L) of England celebrates the dismissal of Oman's Pratik Athavale | AFP

Adil Rashid took 4-11 and England boosted its chances of reaching the Super Eight stage of the Twenty20 World Cup by bowling out Oman for 47 on Thursday en route to an eight-wicket win in a pivotal match for the defending champions.

Phil Salt launched the first two balls of the England innings for sixes before being bowled third ball in a dramatic start as his team chased the fastest-possible win.

It reached 50-2 from a record 3.1 overs 20 deliveries, including a no-ball led by captain Jos Buttler's 24 from eight balls.

It was not only the magnitude of the win but the speed with which it was achieved that helped improve England's outlook at the tournament. It moved up to third place in Group B with three points, behind already qualified Australia (six points), and Scotland (five points).

Most importantly, England's net run-rate that was minus 1.800 before the match is now plus 3.08, ahead of Scotland's plus 2.164. Scotland next faces 2021 champions Australia.

England took a point from its first match against Scotland, a washout, and then lost to Australia by 36 runs. That made it imperative that it not only won Thursday's match but won it emphatically to improve its run-rate and prospects.

Buttler won the toss and chose to bowl against Oman, theorizing that England would be in a better position to manage the run-rate equation if it was chasing.

The plan worked when England bowled out Oman in 13.2 overs on a glassy surface at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium which supported both Rashid's leg spinners and the England fast bowlers Jofra Archer and Mark Wood.

We had a point to prove after the last couple of games," said Wood, who returned 3-12.

England needed quick wickets and Archer delivered, capturing his first wicket on the eighth ball of the match. He had Pratik Athavale caught at cover by Salt from a full, fast delivery.

Archer then dismissed captain Aqib Ilyas in the fourth over when Oman was 16-2.

The England quicks operated well in tandem, with Wood adding the wickets of Zeeshan Maqsood (1), caught and bowled, and Kashyap Prajapati (9) to leave Oman 25-4 at the end of the six-over power play.

Salt clubbed the first two balls of the England innings over the long boundaries for sixes, then was bowled by the third ball from Bilal Khan (1-36). Jacks then defended the fourth ball in a rare moment of calm.

Buttler carried his bat to get England home with 101 balls to spare, hitting a six and four boundaries.

England next plays Namibia on Sunday, its chances for the Super Eight stage still dependent on the outcome of the other group match between Australia and Scotland.

If Scotland wins, it will qualify. England likely would advance if Australia wins with a superior net run-rate.

Job done today, Buttler said, "and we've got another big game in two days. 

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