We hung on to Sri Lanka potentially doing the job against England, says Australia coach McDonald

Australia chief coach Andrew McDonald has attributed his team’s premature exit from the ICC T20 World Cup at home to a “slow start” and the abandoned match against England, which made their semifinal qualification an extremely difficult proposition.

Aaron Finch’s side began their campaign to defend the title on a disastrous note, suffering a crushing 89-run defeat to New Zealand, which was soon followed by the hosts sharing points with England following a washout.

Australia’s qualification for the last-four came down to the hope of Sri Lanka defeating England in their last Super 12 fixture, but with Jos Buttler’s side emerging winners by four wickets on Saturday, the door was firmly shut on the home team.

“(It is) really disappointing. It wasn’t in the plan to be heading home to our home ports today (Saturday),” McDonald said in a press conference. “(We) suffered a slow start to the tournament and couldn’t really, I suppose, grapple that back. Compound that with a washout against England who we would be vying with for a top-two spot, we just got behind it from the first game.”

Australia were praying for a miracle but England allrounder, Ben Stokes, after a series of below-par performances, smashed an unbeaten 42 as the last year’s semifinalists won a thriller by four wickets with just two ball remaining.

McDonald conceded the anxiety of waiting for a favourable result in the England-Sri Lanka match was killing, and he actually felt helpless.

“Any time things are taken out of your control, you’re left feeling a little lump around it, we (hung) on to Sri Lanka potentially doing the job against England and they did a pretty good job of it,” said McDonald.

“You’re a bit helpless aren’t you, you’re watching it hoping Sri Lanka will get the job done, England are a really good team and they got pressed. It looked at one stage that we might have been a slight outside chance (but) it wasn’t meant to be, and we’ve only got ourselves to blame for that,” he added.

McDonald, a former Australian cricketer, added that the task was ‘simple’ for his side in order to try and swing the net run rate (NRR) into their favour in their crucial game against Afghanistan.

“I think the last game (vs Afghanistan) the scenario was pretty simple. I think it was 107 to switch the net run rate around and that was always going to be tall ask bowling second. Those who know the Adelaide Oval the dew comes in and it comes a little bit easier to chase in the back end of games,” he added.

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