South Africa will face Sri Lanka in the quarter-finals of the World Cup on Wednesday after Australia beat Scotland in Hobart on Saturday.
Mitchell Starc continued his impressive Cricket World Cup campaign with a four-wicket haul as Australia overpowered Scotland by seven wickets in Hobart on Saturday.
If the game, which was threatened by rain throughout, were to wash out, South Africa would have faced Australia in the play-offs.
Left-arm paceman Starc took four for 14 in 4.4 overs as Scotland, in their last Pool A match of this tournament, collapsed to 130 all out in barely half their alloted overs after losing the toss at Bellerive Oval.
There were five ducks in the innings, with fast bowler Pat Cummins, recalled in place of dropped spinner Xavier Doherty, taking three for 42 in seven overs.
Matt Machan, who plays for English county side Sussex, top-scored with 40 and Calum MacLeod made 22 but at 79 for seven there was a real chance Scotland would be dismissed for under 100.
However, bold hitting from the ninth-wicket duo of Josh Davey (26) and Michael Leask (23 not out) took the non-Test side to three figures.
Australia captain Michael Clarke – passed fit after missing training in midweek to rest his hamstring injury – then decided to give himself some batting practice ahead of the quarter-final in Adelaide on March 20 by making a run-a-ball 47 opening the innings.
There was a worrying moment for Australia, when with 39 still needed for victory, rain stopped play.
But when the match resumed, new batsman David Warner — usually an opener – settled Australia’s nerves with a straight six and a four off the first two balls he faced.
Warner finished on 21 not out, off just six balls, while James Faulkner (16 not out) ended the match with a six as Australia finished on 133 for three in 15.2 overs.
Meanwhile, Suresh Raina hit a century as India spoiled Brendan Taylor’s farewell party with a hard-fought six-wicket win in the World Cup Pool B match in Auckland.
Raina survived two dropped catches during his unbeaten 104-ball 110 as India chased down a stiff 288-run target in 48.4 overs for their sixth win in as many matches.
Departing Zimbabwe batsman Taylor had anchored Zimbabwe’s 287 all out with a punishing 110-ball 138 in what was his last international after signing a deal with English county Nottinghamshire.
With India on 158/4, and Raina on 47, Zimbabwe spurned a good chance of pressing for a win when Hamilton Masakadza dropped a sitter at short fine-leg off Sikander Raza.
It was Masakadza who was at the receiving end of the second chance when wicket-keeper Taylor dropped Raina off his bowling with his score on 71.
The left-hander punished Zimbabwe by completing his fifth one-day hundred — his first in World Cups — reaching the three-figure mark off 94 balls. In all he hit nine boundaries and four sixes.
With India in a spot of bother at 92-4, when Raza bowled Virat Kohli for 38, Raina found an able partner in skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the experienced duo added 196 for an unbroken fifth wicket stand.
Dhoni finished with 85 not out off 76 balls, hitting the winning six off Tinashe Panyangara, his second in addition to eight boundaries. – AFP