After a poor start to their International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup 2023 campaign, Australia have finished the group stage strongly to cement their place on the third spot on the points table and ensure qualification to the semi-finals.
A splendid innings of 177 not out off just 132 deliveries including nine sixes and 17 boundaries by Mitchell Marsh guided the Aussies over the line in their final match against bottom-half team Bangladesh. Marsh’s innings today came on the back of a jaw dropping effort from Glenn Maxwell who played through pain to take Australia home from a losing position against Afghanistan a few days ago.
Marsh was supported well by Steve Smith on the other side as Australia chased down a competitive target of 307 with 32 balls left winning the match by eight wickets. Opener David Warner also contributed with a well-made half-century even as Travis Head fell early.
The Bangladeshi bowlers failed the team as the batters put up a strong showing from the beginning to post a good total in their match played at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium in Pune.
Having won the toss, Australia skipper Pat Cummins put Bangladesh to bat first. In response, both openers Tanzid Hasan and Liton Das gave a good start to the team putting up a 76-run stand for the first wicket. Thereafter, Najmul Hossain Shanto, who is captining the side in the absence of Shakib Al Hasan, scored a well-made 45 runs before Towhid Hridoy stole the show with a swashbuckling 74.
Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mehidy Hasan all scored important runs to add to the team’s total which went past the 300-mark in their 50 overs.
For Australia, Mitchell Marsh proved the most expensive option giving away 48 runs in his four overs as Sean Abbott and Adam Zampa got two wickets each, while Marcus Stoinis picked up one wicket.
The result means Australia move easily into the semis as Bangladesh look to pick up their things and have another crack at it in four years’ time. Meanwhile, Bangladesh will be looking over their shoulders if fellow Asian team Pakistan can hand England a defeat in the day’s other match. That will prove helpful allowing for Bangladesh to qualify for the Champions Trophy by finishing among the top eight teams.