A convincing win for the Aussies over Sri Lanka today at The Oval in London, provided rain permits a full game, will see them through to the semi-finals on net run-rate.
However, a narrow win for the scratchy-so-far Australians could see New Zealand through.
Any win for Sri Lanka will give them a likely date with India, the form side of the tournament so far.
The Black Caps gave England a scare in their match reduced to 24 overs which guaranteed the hosts a spot in the semis at the top of the group.
It wasn’t easy going though, requiring a captain’s knock from Alastair Cook – 64 off 47 balls – after an impressive bowling performance from the Kiwis to set a competitive total of 179.
England wobbled big time at the end of their innings, losing their last seven wickets for 28 runs.
New Zealand were caught short though on 169, despite an impressive knock from Kane Williamson (67 off 54).
“It was quite a stressful day – it was a nerve-wracking time,” Cook said after the match.
Barring any major boilover in favour of the Sri Lankans, England will face group B runners-up South Africa in the semi at The Oval on Wednesday.
“We don’t mind who we play – we are just glad to be in there,” Cook said.
“We had a quarter-final in one way today, and now we look forward to a semi-final, whoever that may be against.”
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum is now in the uncomfortable position of backing Australia – but not to win convincingly.
“We’ll be supporting Australia now, which is not something that we normally like to do,” McCullum said.
“We would love Australia to play some excellent cricket tomorrow, but obviously not too good either.
“It’s never nice when you leave destiny in someone else’s hands. But we had our opportunity today and we missed out, so if we find ourselves out of the tournament we can’t be upset.”
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