Mitch Marsh has blasted an emotional century at the Cricket World Cup to put a smile on his grieving family members' faces and lead Australia to a seventh-straight win. The Aussie all-rounder flew home to Perth two weeks ago to be with his family following the death of grandfather Ross.
On Saturday he smashed the third-highest score by an Australian at a men's World Cup, making 177 not out as the Aussies beat Bangladesh by eight wickets. It was a fitting way to celebrate his late grandfather.
"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," he said after the match. "My pop was a great man and a huge cricket supporter and they celebrated his life yesterday. Obviously, it's been a challenging week for the family. It was nice to be able to perform for them and nice to get the win."
The 32-year-old said he was touched to see his teammates wearing black armbands for Ross during the game against England - which he missed when he was back in Perth. But now he's back and ready to fulfil his promise of helping Australia win the World Cup.
"To go back into the World Cup is pretty cool," he said. "Can't wait for the semi-final, it's going to be a ripper. We're bloody pumped to get to Kolkata (to play South Africa)."
Marsh was named man of the match for his incredible innings, which featured nine sixes and 17 fours. But he was almost embarrassed to accept the award after conceding 48 from his four overs with the ball.
"I started at negative 50 after my bowling, so I had to get a few back," he said. "But any time you score 100 for Australia, it's always a great feeling, and now we're obviously really excited about what lies ahead for us."
After Bangladesh batted first and made 8-306, Marsh's knock helped Australia produce their highest successful run chase in World Cup history. "That is the way we want to play our cricket - me coming in at No.3 and applying pressure," he said.
"I knew when [Travis Head] came back (from injury) I was going to go down to No.3, so the most important thing was to play with that same intent and back myself. We probably had a few games where I lost my intent. So it was really good to learn quickly and back myself."
Mitch Marsh returns to form ahead of World Cup semi-final
Marsh's ton was his second of the World Cup after he made 121 while opening the batting against Pakistan earlier in the tournament. He had recorded scores of nine, 36 and 24 since being moved down to No.3 after Head's return.
"It's always a great honour to score 100, but I was pretty cooked to be honest," he admitted. "I was just starting to cramp at that stage, so I was trying to keep my heart rate low and not exert too much energy. Yeah, this one meant just as much as any other 100 that I've ever made."
Gosh I love Mitch Marsh. Just a human who makes everyone around him a bit happier. So pleased to see another World Cup ton from him live and his highest ODI score. And a touching moment for the family after a tough couple of weeks. pic.twitter.com/7IGwSVoUqf
— Neroli Meadows (@Neroli_Meadows) November 11, 2023
What a knock
— Haahaa (@viru_iam) November 11, 2023
What an incredible hundred by Mitch Marsh and what a fantastic chase by Australia against Bangladesh in Pune. Clinical and just what they needed before the semis 🇦🇺💯 #AUSvsBAN #CWC23 pic.twitter.com/eiZ9kkyIeR
— kamil khan (@13kamilkhan) November 11, 2023
The best part of Mitch Marsh scoring a century is often how happy it makes his teammates. Always a burst of joy and elation in the dressing-room and dug-out. Same here with Marnus punching the air & others standing with their arms aloft as he got there #CWC23 #AusvBAN
— Bharat Sundaresan (@beastieboy07) November 11, 2023
If the Aussie batsmen get it together they are a real chance to win the W.C.
— robert henderson (@wobby66) November 11, 2023
Head was dismissed early for just 10 on Saturday afternoon, but David Warner made a composed 53 and Steve Smith struck a timely 63 not out ahead of big selection call heading into the semi-finals. Smith, Marnus Labuschagne and Marcus Stoinis are the candidates to be dropped when Glenn Maxwell comes back into the side after he was rested against Bangladesh.
Labuschagne and Stoinis didn't get a chance to press their claims with the bat on Saturday, but Labuschagne affected two sensational run-outs in the field to show his worth. Smith's 63 off 64 balls will likely be enough to see him selected to take on South Africa in the semis. India will play New Zealand in the other semi after England ended Pakistan's faint hopes later on Saturday.
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