Pune: It was a one-man show as star all-rounder Mitchell Marsh smashed an unbeaten 177 off 127 balls, the second-highest individual score in this World Cup, to guide Australia to a comfortable eight-wicket win over Bangladesh in their final league match at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Saturday. Marsh, who returned to the team after attending his grandfather’s funeral, hit 17 fours and nine sixes in his blistering knock, which helped Australia chase down the target of 307 with 32 balls to spare. He was well supported by David Warner (53 off 64 balls) and Steve Smith (63* off 66 balls), who both scored fluent half-centuries and shared century stands with Marsh for the second and third wickets respectively.
With this win, Australia finished second in the points table with 18 points from nine matches, behind England who topped the group with 20 points. Australia will now face South Africa, who finished third with 16 points, in the first semi-final at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on November 15. England will take on New Zealand, who secured the fourth spot with 14 points, in the second semi-final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on November 16.
On the other hand, Bangladesh ended their campaign with their sixth defeat in nine matches, and are currently placed eighth in the table with six points. They will now hope that India, who have already qualified for the 2025 Champions Trophy in Pakistan as the hosts, beat the Netherlands in their last league match on Sunday to prevent them from overtaking Bangladesh in the rankings. If the Netherlands win, they will move up to eighth place with eight points and Bangladesh will slip to ninth, missing out on the Champions Trophy qualification.
Bangladesh, who opted to bat first, posted a competitive total of 306 for 8, thanks to a fine 74 off 79 balls by young batsman Tauhid Hriday, who scored his maiden ODI fifty. Hriday hit five fours and two sixes and anchored the innings after Bangladesh lost their openers Liton Das (36 off 39 balls) and Tanjid Hasan (36 off 34 balls) quickly. He added 68 runs for the third wicket with Nazmul Hossain Shanto (45 off 51 balls) and 54 runs for the fifth wicket with Mahmudullah (38 off 36 balls). However, none of the other Bangladeshi batsmen could capitalize on their starts and accelerate the scoring rate in the death overs. For Australia, leg-spinner Adam Zampa was the pick of the bowlers with 2 for 32 in 10 overs, which took him to the top of the wicket-takers list in this World Cup with 21 scalps. Sean Abbott, who replaced the rested Mitchell Starc, also claimed 2 for 61 in his World Cup debut.
Australia’s chase got off to a shaky start as they lost Travis Head (10 off 14 balls) in the fifth over, caught behind off Mustafizur Rahman. However, Marsh and Warner soon took control of the game with a 120-run partnership in 116 balls for the second wicket. Marsh was the aggressor in the stand, as he took on the Bangladeshi spinners with disdain. He hit three fours in an over off Mehidy Hasan in the fourth over and then smashed a six off Taskin Ahmed in the ninth over. He followed it up with two more sixes off Nasum Ahmed and Mehidy Hasan in the 12th and 13th overs respectively. He reached his fifty in 37 balls and continued to dominate the bowling. Warner, on the other hand, played the supporting role and used his pull shot effectively. He hit two fours in an over off Nasum Ahmed in the seventh over and then brought up the 100-run partnership with another boundary in the 19th over. He completed his half-century in the same over with another four, but fell soon after, caught by Shanto off Mustafizur in the 23rd over.
Marsh then joined forces with Smith and the duo added 175 runs in 136 balls for the unbroken third wicket, taking Australia to the finish line without any further trouble. Marsh reached his hundred in the 31st over with a six over long-on off Mehidy Hasan and then celebrated by hitting two more sixes off Mustafizur in the 33rd and 42nd overs. He remained unbeaten on 177, his third ODI century and highest score in the format. Smith also played a steady knock and finished the match with a four off Mustafizur in the 46th over. He remained not out on 63, his 28th ODI fifty. For Bangladesh, Mustafizur was the most expensive bowler, conceding 83 runs in 9.4 overs for two wickets.