Marsh clubs century as Aussies head into WC semis on seven-game streak despite ‘Herschelle Gibbs 2.0’ drama


A brutal century from Mitchell Marsh has guided Australia’s record run chase in a comprehensive victory over Bangladesh, for their seventh victory in succession at the World Cup.

Marsh’s unbeaten 177 off just 132 balls, featuring 17 fours and nine sixes, made short work of an imposing 8/306 set by the Tigers, as together with half-centuries from David Warner (53) and the returning Steve Smith (63 not out), the target was whittled down with 32 balls to spare, to ease any Australian concerns should they be required to bat second in a looming semi-final showdown with South Africa in Kolkata next week.

The Western Australia’s raw power was summed up late in his innings after toe-ending an attempted heave down the ground off seamer Mustafizur Rahman having been deceived by a slower ball, only for Najmul Hossain Shanto at long off to be unable to keep the ball from crossing the boundary rope.

Keen to dominate the Bangladeshi spinners in particular, Marsh was unable to match Glenn Maxwell’s glorious double-century against Afghanistan earlier in the week, but it is still the sixth-highest by an Australian man in ODI cricket, and the third-best at a World Cup behind Maxwell and Warner’s 178 against Afghanistan at the 2015 tournament.

Speaking after the match, Marsh, who missed Australia’s clash with England after heading home due to the passing of his grandfather, was thrilled with his display of aggression after a series of more sedate knocks mid-tournament, while hoping his century has given comfort to his family back in Perth amid a tough time.

“[I] probably had a few games in the middle of the tournament where I lost my intent,” he said.

“It was really good to learn quickly and back myself. I am probably going to fail a few times but hopefully I come up more than I don’t.

“I’m sure my Nana and mum will be watching at home, so hopefully it has put a little smile on her face. My pop was a great man and they celebrated his life yesterday afternoon and I am sure they had a couple of beers too.

“Nice to be able to perform for the family, but good to get a win.”

Mitch Marsh. (Photo by Matthew Lewis-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

His only ropey moment in an otherwise flawless performance was four consecutive dot balls while on 99 as he tried and failed to clear the infield to bring up his second ton of the tournament; while for Australia, the only blips came when Travis Head was bowled for 10 in the early stages and when Warner departed for 53 in slightly controversial circumstances.

Warner had clipped Mustafizur straight to Shanto at mid-on and immediately walked off furious with the shot, failing to notice the fielder had, in his haste to throw the ball into the air in celebration, lost his grip on it, in a scene reminiscent of Herschelle Gibbs’ famous drop of Steve Waugh at the 1999 World Cup as well as Ben Stokes’ shelling of Smith in this year’s Ashes series.

While Shanto clearly had more control than either of those examples, commentator and former Australian great Ricky Ponting was adamant a closer look should have been instigated by the third umpire, which never arrived.

“Warner’s turned his back and walked away – it was chipped straight to mid-on, but the fieldsman’s taken it, and in the act of trying to throw the ball in the air, it has come out of his hands!” Ponting exclaimed on the ICC’s international broadcast feed.

“In it goes – he’s taken onto it long enough, definitely got control, but – interesting. Will that be given out?”

The dismissal left Australia 2/132 to start the 23rd over, still needing nearly 200 runs for victory, but Marsh and Smith ensured it wouldn’t prove decisive, with Smith in particular looking keen to retain his spot over the in-form Marnus Labuschagne by showing his aggression from the outset.

A powerful slog-swept six off spinner Nasum Ahmed saw him race to 27 off just 26 balls to quickly bring the required run rate down to below six per over; content to safely accumulate from there saved for a heaved boundary down the ground to bring up the winning runs, the 34-year old’s unbeaten 63 should secure him a semi-final berth if his spot was in any doubt – especially with Labuschagne unable to prove his case.

The 307 hunted down is a new benchmark successful run chase for Australia at a World Cup, beating the 292 chase against Afghanistan mere days ago – this one, though, was far more clinical.


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