‘All start now’: Big moments loom for sloppy Aussies

Australia v Scotland - ICC Men's T20 Cricket World Cup West Indies & USA 2024
Australian captain Mitch Marsh says his team had an off night in the field against Scotland. Picture: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

A sloppy fielding effort in the final pool game at the T20 World Cup was just an off night according to Australian captain Mitch Marsh who has backed his players to stand up in the big moments, declaring “they all start now”.

The Aussies only just got over the line against minnows Scotland to set up a Super Eight showdown with Bangladesh on Friday, Marsh dropping three chances, and hurting his finger, as six went down in the field as the Scots made 180.

It was the biggest score Australia conceded in the pool games, but Marsh said the “trust” was ever-present among the team and he held no fears of a repeat effort in Antigua.

Australia has to finish top two in the pool of four teams to progress to the semi-finals.

“It was obviously not our best effort in the field. I think I dropped three of the catches, so I take the brunt of that,” Marsh said ahead of the clash.

“But I think the thing we speak about is that we’ve got a lot of trust in our group. We had an off night in the field and this group loves to stand up in big moments and they all start now – so I’ve got a lot of trust in the group.”

Australia Net Sessions - ICC Men's T20 Cricket World Cup West Indies & USA 2024
Mitchell Marsh is back bowling. Picture: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

The Australians could return to a pace-heavy attack for the clash with Bangladesh having left out both Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins for the clash with Scotland.

But the captain, who battled a hamstring injury in the lead-up to the tournament, is also back bowling, having rolled his arm over for the first time in a long time this week.

“I’ll be available to bowl,” he said.

“With the line-up that we’ve got, I don’t really necessarily see a need for me to bowl, but I think it’s really important in this format to have options and we’re blessed with plenty of those.

“It’s always nice to have a bit of break from bowling and I often joke about that. Stoin (Marcus Stoinis) and I often talk about it as all-rounders, we love being in the game.

“And as I said before, it’s really important in this format with some of the teams that we are coming up against us to have as many options as we possibly can.”

Bangladesh is coached by recently departed NSW assistant Chandika Hathurusingha, who knows all about the likes of David Warner, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood.

But while Hathurusingha admits he knows the “strengths and weaknesses” of the Australian superstars, he thinks the conditions in Antigua will hold the key to his team’s success.

“We know a lot about their strengths and weaknesses. That’s not going to help much, but on the day, conditions is the biggest factor in this game,” he said.

“Our focus is how we use those conditions to our advantage. That’s the main thing we’re talking about.”

Bangladesh won the most recent T20 series between the two teams, at home in 2021 against a second-string Australian team and playing on wickets the tourists said were some of the worst they had experienced.