In-form Australia warm up for Cricket World Cup semi-final in perfect style


Mitchell Marsh blasted his second big century of the Cricket World Cup as Australia primed themselves for the semi-finals by cruising to their seventh straight victory with an eight-wicket win over Bangladesh.

Australia lost Travis Head early in their chase of 307 but fellow opener David Warner (53) and Marsh (177 not out) forged a 120-run partnership for the second wicket before the five-time world champions comfortably got home in 44.4 overs.

Australia skipper Pat Cummins heaped praise on Marsh and struck a confident tone ahead of the semi-finals.

“The tempo that he played at was sustainable and he’s a scary prospect to have,” said Cummins. “Seven games in a row. Even when we weren’t at our best in some of those games, we came away with a win.”

Marsh reached his third one-day international century in 87 deliveries and ended with 17 fours and nine sixes as he turned the screws on Bangladesh in a 175-run stand with Steve Smith (63 not out), who returned to the side after a bout of vertigo.

“Can’t wait for the semi-final, it’s going to be a ripper,” said man-of-the-match Marsh. “We’re bloody pumped to get to Kolkata.”

Marsh had briefly returned home last week following his grandfather’s death.

“I’m sure my nana, mum and all the family will be watching at home, so hopefully it’s put a smile on their faces. My pop was a great man and they celebrated his life yesterday.”

Mitchell Marsh thumped a huge century for Australia (AP)
Mitchell Marsh thumped a huge century for Australia (AP)

Towhid Hridoy earlier scored his maiden half-century of the tournament on his way to 74 at Pune’s MCA Stadium, as Bangladesh finished with 306-8 from 50 overs in the final group game for both sides.

Australia gave explosive batsman Glenn Maxwell another day off ahead of their semi-final with South Africa in Kolkata on Thursday, while Sean Abbott (2-61) had a good match replacing Mitchell Starc.

Bangladesh’s top-order all made solid starts after Cummins won the toss and opted to bowl as Tanzid Hasan (36), Litton Das (36), Najmul Hossain Shanto (45) and Mahmudullah (32) took advantage of the helpful conditions.

Leg-spinner Adam Zampa (2-32) snared Mushfiqur Rahim to bag his 22nd victim and emerge as the top wicket-taker after Marnus Labuschagne threw a spanner in the works by superbly effecting two run-outs.

“The two runouts were crucial,” said Shanto, who captained Bangladesh after Shakib Al Hasan’s finger injury forced him out of the game. “After the runouts, we lost momentum. If we had made 340-350 it could have been different.”

Hridoy ensured Bangladesh had a good platform to build on and the 22-year-old struck five fours and two sixes in his 79-ball knock but was caught in the deep while looking to accelerate in the 47th over.

Bangladesh finished with their best total of the tournament, only to suffer disappointment as Australia comfortably chased down their target with overs to spare.