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Matthew Mott hoping comments from Australia's Josh Hazlewood was 'tongue in cheek'

England coach Matthew Mott is sure the suggestion by Josh Hazlewood to manipulate the run-rate and knock their Ashes rivals out of the T20 World Cup was just having a "very good sense of humour".

Seam bowler Hazlewood put the boot in after Australia effectively sealed qualification with a crushing win over Namibia on Tuesday, claiming he would be keen to nudge England out of the competition by any means necessary.

He floated the idea that Australia could "knock it around and drag it out" in the final group match against Scotland, giving an artificial boost to their opponents' net run-rate and moving England towards the exit door.

But Mott, an Australian who coached Hazlewood during their time together at New South Wales, puts those comments down to mischief rather than malevolence.

"I think I know Josh pretty well and I know his integrity. He's got a very good sense of humour," he said.

"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."

Hazlewood's response has put Australia in a difficult position, essentially pitting them against the International Cricket Council's (ICC's) rulebook.

Clause 2.11 of the code of conduct specifically mentions "inappropriate manipulation of a net run-rate" for "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.

While it is hard to be sure how to satisfy the burden of proof when asking due care and attention in a run chase becomes a deliberate go slow, Hazlewood's indiscretion will have alerted match referee Jeff Crowe.

Mott was eager to move on from the sideshow, well aware that it would become an irrelevance should England fail to do their part.

To have any chance of edging Scotland, they need to beat Oman handsomely in Antigua on Thursday and do the same to Namibia 48 hours later.

"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."

England have named the same XI for both of their matches in the Caribbean but have Ben Duckett, Reece Topley, Sam Curran and Tom Hartley pushing from the outside.

Topley's case looks strongest, with his profile as a tall left-armer offering variety to an attack that has struggled to make breakthroughs in the powerplay.

Duckett is also hopeful of a chance should selectors want to add a left-hander into an all right-hand dominant top seven, but he may need to wait his turn.

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