Star all-rounder Mitchell Marsh displayed his six-hitting prowess on way to a magnificent 177 not out as Australia warmed up for the semifinals with an eight-wicket thrashing of Bangladesh in the World Cup here on Saturday.
Set a target of 307, Australia rode on Marsh’s third ODI hundred and fifties from David Warner (53) and Steve Smith (63 not out) to complete the task with 32 balls in hand. The five-time champions will face South Africa in their semifinal in Kolkata on November 16.
Bangladesh, on the other hand, ended their campaign with yet another loss and would hope India beat the Netherlands on Sunday so that they can hold on to their 8th position and qualify for the 2025 Champions Trophy in Pakistan.
Marsh, who had gone home after losing his grandfather, smashed as many as 9 maximums and 17 fours during his excellent knock, adding 120 off 116 and 175 off 136 deliveries with Warner and Smith for the second and third wickets respectively to take it away from the Asian team.
Marsh’s innings was also the second highest individual score of this World Cup after Glenn Maxwell’s 201 not out.
Earlier, Towhid Hridoy slammed a 79-ball 74, studded with five fours and two sixes, as Bangladesh produced their best batting effort of the tournament to post a competitive 306 for 8.
In response, Australia lost Travis Head (10) early but Marsh and Warner shrugged off the jittery start to take them to 100 for 1 in 15 overs.
Marsh looked in solid form, making an attacking start as Warner seemed happy to play the second fiddle.
Marsh cracked three fours off Mahedi Hasan in the fourth over before depositing Taskin Ahmed over deep square leg. He then danced down the pitch to clobber another six off Nasum Ahmed and repeated the treatment to Mehidy Hasan Miraz in the 12th over.
The result was Marsh raced to his fifty in 37 balls.
Warner used his pull shot to good use and ran well between the wickets to keep ticking along. He picked Nasum for special treatment, sending him across the fence twice in the seventh over.
In the 19th over, Warner cut the bowler for another four through the covers to bring up the 100-run stand with Marsh, before reaching his fifty with another boundary.
Mustafizur Rahman returned to remove Warner in the 23rd over though Shanto almost dropped the catch, which reminded of Herschelle Gibbs’ moment from the 1999 edition.
Marsh continued unfazed, owning the off side, using his cover drives and off drives to score maximum runs there.
He notched up his ton in the 31st over and then went after Mehidy with another maximum over long-on. Then he turned his attention to Mustafizur, smoking him over the sightscreen in the 33rd over before adding another one in the 42nd over.
One over later, Taskin was sent over mid-wicket as Australia galloped towards the target.
In the end, Smith knocked off the winning runs with a boundary off Mustafizur.
Opting to bowl, Josh Hazlewood (0/21) was on the money with the new ball, while Adam Zampa (2/32) scalped two to take the top position in the list of most wicket takers in this World Cup, and Sean Abbott (2/61), playing his first game, also took two wickets.
Litton Das (36) and Tanzid Hasan (36) gave Bangladesh a good start on a belter of a wicket as they were 76 for no loss at one stage. However, both frittered away their starts.
Pat Cummins, who conceded 10 runs in his first over, was taken to the cleaners by Tanzid in the sixth over, with two fours.
Litton joined the party with three boundaries in the eighth over as Tanzid brought up the team fifty with another four off Marsh, in 49 balls.
Abbott broke the partnership with Tanzid top-edging a short ball to hand the bowler a caught and bowl chance.
Najmul Hossain Shanto (45) also looked in fine fettle, producing two hits to the fence off Marsh, as Bangladesh scored 100 for one in 15.1 overs.
However, Zampa had Litton caught by Marnus Labuschagne at long-on.
Hridoy smashed two sixes en route to a 63-run alliance with Shanto, but Labuschagne produced a terrific throw to run out the stand-in skipper.
Mahmudullah (32) clobbered three sixes and a four during his 44-run stand with Hridoy as the 200 was up for Bangladesh in the 32nd over.
Mushfiqur Rahim (21) became the second victim of Zampa but Mehidy Hasan Miraz provided some impetus, blasting four boundaries before Abbott sent him back.
Bangladesh could add just 67 runs in the last 10 overs, but the total was enough to ensure that their net run rate wouldn’t go below Sri Lanka in the race for the Championships trophy qualification.
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