Marsh hits unbeaten 177 as Australia beat Bangladesh

Bangladesh 306-8 (50 overs): Hridoy 74 (79); Zampa 2-32
Australia 307-2 (44.4 overs): Marsh 177* (132) Smith 63* (64); Taskin 1-61
Australia won by eight wickets

Mitchell Marsh smashed a brutal unbeaten 177 as Australia beat Bangladesh by eight wickets in their final World Cup group game.

Marsh struck nine sixes in his 132-ball knock as Australia reached their target of 307 with 32 balls to spare in Pune on Saturday.

Opener David Warner scored 53 and Steve Smith added 63 not out as both shared century stands with Marsh.

Bangladesh earlier posted 306-8 with Towhid Hridoy top-scoring with 74.

It was a frustrating innings for Bangladesh who squandered promising positions on a good batting surface, with all top seven batters passing 20 – but Hridoy the only one to capitalise.

They were set for a strong finish at 239-4 but Australia’s bowlers closed out the innings expertly, with just 65 runs and four wickets coming from the final 10 overs.

In contrast, Australia batted with discipline to time their chase perfectly, setting a new highest World Cup run chase for the second game in succession after Glenn Maxwell’s heroics against Afghanistan.

Travis Head was bowled for 10 by Taskin Ahmed in the third over but Warner continued his fine form with his fourth 50-plus score in the tournament as he anchored the innings around Marsh’s aggression.

Australia had already qualified for the semi-finals, where they will face South Africa, before this match.

Their fixture against the Proteas looks set to be an intriguing battle with both teams taking confidence from winning their final group stage matches.

Australia end group stage with fine all-round effort

Pat Cummins’ side advance to the last four having won seven successive games and will be buoyed by their all-round efforts against Bangladesh.

Warner has been in stellar form but there have been question marks around Australia’s middle order, and they will take confidence from putting that right as they head into the knockouts.

Marsh had struggled at number three since Head’s return to the top of the order, but returned to his destructive best against a struggling Bangladesh without their injured talismanic captain Shakib Al Hasan.

He reached his century from 87 balls, his second of the tournament so far, while the unflappable Smith found fluency in his usual unorthodox style to play a supporting role in the chase.

Marnus Labuschagne was not required with the bat but may find his place under jeopardy from Maxwell, who was rested after his record-breaking efforts against Afghanistan and will add even further strength to Australia’s line-up.

Fast bowler Mitchell Starc was also rested but Sean Abbott stepped in admirably with 2-61, bowling excellently at the death after an expensive start, while leg-spinner Adam Zampa continued his magnificent tournament with 2-32 to reclaim his place at the top of the wicket-taking charts.

At times, Bangladesh’s batters looked like taking the game away with a big first-innings total but Australia’s bowlers struck at key moments with Tanzid Hasan and Litton Das making 36, while Najmul Hossain Shanto scored 45 and Mahmudullah was brilliantly run out by Labuschagne for 32.

Bangladesh fought admirably against a superior side but defeat marked the end of a disappointing campaign that included just two wins from their nine games.

‘Marsh is a scary prospect for bowlers’ – reaction

Player of the match Mitchell Marsh: “It feels great, it’s nice to finish off the group with another win and we’re on to the semis. Hopefully that game will be a ripper.

“I want to play with the same intent at number three as I do when I open and I lost that at times, so it was nice for that to come off today.”

Bangladesh captain Najmul Hossain Shanto: “We started really well with the bat but two run outs in the middle stopped our momentum. We should have got about 340 or 350.

“It has been a disappointing tournament, we haven’t played our best. Individuals have put in some very good performances but we need to improve as a team.”

Australia captain Pat Cummins: “Great to get a win leading into the semis. It was such a good pitch and we backed ourselves to chase that score.

“We have got a few selection headaches but that’s a nice problem to have.

“Mitchell Marsh was incredible, he played beautifully and he is a scary prospect for bowlers.”

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