Mitchell Marsh celebrated his second major century of the World Cup as Australia prepared for the semi-finals by recording their seventh consecutive win with an eight-wicket win over Bangladesh in Pune.
Australia lost Travis Head early in their chase for 307, but fellow openers David Warner (53) and Marsh (177 not out) formed a 120-run partnership for the second wicket before the five-time world champion confidently finished in 44.4 overs came.
Pat Cummins praised Marsh and struck a confident tone ahead of the semi-final. “The pace he played at was sustained and it’s a scary prospect to have him,” the Australian captain said. “Seven games in a row…Even though we weren’t at our best in some of those games, we got a win.”
Marsh reached his third one-day international century in 87 deliveries, finishing with 17 fours and nine sixes as he turned the screws on Bangladesh in a 175-run stand with Steve Smith (63 not out), who returned to the side after a struggle from Dizziness.
“I can’t wait for the semi-final, it’s going to be a blast,” said Marsh, the man of the match. “We are really excited to come to Kolkata.”
Marsh briefly returned home last week after his grandfather died. “I’m sure my grandma, my mother and the whole family will be watching at home, so I hope it puts a smile on their faces. My father was a great man and they celebrated his life yesterday.”
Earlier, Towhid Hridoy scored his first half-century of the tournament at the MCA Stadium in Pune as Bangladesh posted 306 for eight from 50 overs in the final group game for both teams.
Australia gave explosive batsman Glenn Maxwell another day off ahead of the semi-final against South Africa in Kolkata on November 16, while Sean Abbott (two for 61) had a good game, replacing Mitchell Starc.
Bangladesh’s top batters all got off to a good start after Pat Cummins won the toss and elected to bowl, while Tanzid Hasan (36), Litton Das (36), Najmul Hossain Shanto (45) and Mahmudullah (32) were helpful exploited conditions.
Leg-spinner Adam Zampa (two for 32) grabbed Mushfiqur Rahim to bag his 22nd victim and emerge as top wicket-taker after Marnus Labuschagne thwarted the score with two superb run-outs.
“The two run-outs were crucial,” said Shanto, who captained Bangladesh after Shakib Al Hasan was forced out of the game due to a finger injury. “After the run-outs we lost momentum. If we had done 340-350 it would have been different.”
Hridoy ensured that Bangladesh had a good platform. The 22-year-old hit five fours and two sixes in his 79-ball knock but got caught in the deep in the 47th over and tried to give it another go before Bangladesh finished with their best total of the tournament, only to be disappointed to suffer as Australia chased their target with overs to spare.