Can Australia manipulate net run rate

If Australia had plans to try and knock England out of the T20 World Cup by playing slow against Scotland, they might have to take reconsider as the ICC Code of Conduct bars such "inappropriate manipulation of net run rate" in games.


After a washout and a loss from their first two games at the 2024 T20 World Cup, England find themselves in a precarious situation, needing not just two big wins, but also Australia to win big against Scotland if they are to qualify for the Super Eights. However, their Ashes rivals seem to be in no mood to do England any favours.

Also read: What victory margins England need to push their net run rate above Scotland's?

Following Australia's thumping victory over Namibia, Josh Hazlewood said that it would be in their "best interest" to "get them (England) out of the tournament".

"In this tournament you potentially come up against England at some stage again and as you said they're probably one of the top few teams on their day and we've had some real struggles against them in T20 cricket so if we can get them out of the tournament that's in our best interest as well as probably everyone else," Hazlewood said, signalling Australia's intentions to potentially limit their margin of victory against Scotland so that their net run rate doesn't take a huge hit and stays above that of England.


Are Australia allowed to deliberately limit their victory margin to knock England out?

Unfortunately for Australia, the simple answer is no. According to Article 2.11 of the ICC Code of Conduct, "the manipulation of International Matches for inappropriate strategic or tactical reasons" is considered to be a level 2 offence.

The Code of Conduct clearly specifies the situation that Australia currently find themselves in: "It (article 2.11) might also apply to the inappropriate manipulation of a net run rate or accumulation of bonus points or otherwise."

What's the punishment if Australia go through with the net run rate manipulation plan?

If Australia do decide to go through with the plan of deliberately limitting their victory margin against Scotland in order to knock England out of the World Cup and are proven guilty, Mitchell Marsh, their captain, will be charged for a level 2 offence.

According to the ICC Code of Conduct, the punishment for a level 2 offence can range between "The imposition of a fine of between 50-100% of the applicable Match Fee or up to two (2) Suspension Points."

Assuming the worst case scenario of Marsh receiving two suspension points, he will be suspended for Australia's first two games in the Super Eights. If he receives a punishment of one suspension point, he will miss one game.

Has something like this ever happened before?

This is not the first time that Australia have found themselves in a situation like this. In the 1999 men's ODI World Cup, they admitted to batting slow against the West Indies in an attempt to knock New Zealand out of the tournament. In that situation, they had added incentive. New Zealand progressing would have given Australia two fewer points in the Super Six stage, due to the Black Caps' earlier victory over their Trans-Tasman rivals.

Also read: When Australia minimised their victory margin to hurt a rival

However, how the ICC would go about proving that a team has deliberately minimised their victory margin, either while batting first or bowling, is unclear.

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