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Stunning Marsh century inspires Australia to win over Bangladesh

Mitchell Marsh scored a brilliant 177* as Australia chased down Bangladesh’s impressive first-innings effort of 306/8 with ease.

Australia’s number three slammed 26 boundaries including nine sixes in his inspired century, lighting up the second innings of the match and bringing Australia’s group stage to a spectacular close.

Marsh’s efforts, along with a half-century from David Warner and good support from Steve Smith saw them make easy work of a demanding chase, sending Australia towards the semi-finals full of confidence.

Australia’s top-order strength was on full display in Pune as they made short work of what could have been a challenging total.

Australia lost a wicket early on in the chase when Travis Head played on while trying to take on Taskin Ahmed, as the ball took an inside edge and then kissed his stumps before rolling back to the keeper.

However, the arrival of Mitchell Marsh lifted Australia. Dealing primarily in boundaries, the all-rounder ensured Australia went ahead closer to seven runs an over.

The arrival of Bangladesh spinners temporarily slowed down the scoring rate, with David Warner taking his time to get going as runs flowed at the other end.

Marsh brought up his half-century off just 37 balls. And Warner followed to his own 50 off 52 balls, kicking on after getting his eye in against the spinners.

Australia’s dominant start to their chase hit a bump when Warner, who had begun to get bogged down, clipped a catch to Najmul Hossain Shanto off Mustafizur Rahman for 53 from 61.

But, with Marsh still out in the middle and playing beautifully, Australia were still well-placed in their search for 307 to win.

And the powerful number three kicked on in style. Supported by the returning Smith, Marsh muscled his way to an outstanding knock of 177 from just 132 balls, smashing nine sixes in his phenomenal innings.

Smith finished not out on 63* from 64 balls, as Australia reached the winning post with 32 balls to spare and sending a message to their semi-final opponents.

How Bangladesh set a sizeable target

Pat Cummins won the toss and opted to bowl first in Pune, before confirming that match-winning hero Glenn Maxwell had been handed a well-earned rest to get himself back into peak condition for the knockout stages.

Mitchell Starc was also absent from the XI, with Steve Smith and Sean Abbott coming into the team.

A classy half-century from Tawhid Hridoy helped Bangladesh amass 306/8 against Australia which might have been much more but for Marnus Labuschagne’s impact in the field.

Bangladesh’s top five batters each made at least 30 but only Hridoy (74) could turn a start into a fifty as Australia were able to make the most of some outstanding fielding to prevent their opponents from taking command.

Labuschagne had a direct hand in four of Australia’s dismissals including the stunning run outs of Najmul Hossain Shanto and Mahmudullah Riyad that broke up a pair of ominous stands.

Stand-in skipper Shanto (45) was the first to test Labuschagne’s arm when looking for a second run but fell agonisingly short despite a last-gasp dive.

In-form veteran Mahmudullah (32) was caught out of his crease soon after when attempting a quick single as Labuschagne swooped on the ball and threw down the stumps in one action that included a dive.

Bangladesh were still able to amass a strong total with Hridoy the top scorer and useful contributions throughout the batting group that was sent in to bat after Australia captain Pat Cummins won the toss and elected to field first in Pune.

Australia pacer Sean Abbott (2/61) claimed a wicket in his Cricket World Cup debut to end the first budding partnership between Bangladesh openers Tanzid Hasan and Litton Das.

The Bangladesh opening pair settled quickly and reached 62/0 at the end of 10 overs, while Australia failed to take a wicket in the first Powerplay for the fourth time in nine matches.

Abbott struck soon after with a sharp caught and bowled to dismiss Hasan for 36 from 34 balls when Bangladesh were on 76.

Adam Zampa (2/32) then put Bangladesh on the ropes when Das (36) chipped straight to Labuschagne and lifted the Australia leg-spinner to equal-first for the most wickets at the tournament thus far.

Shanto then joined forces with Hridoy to guide Bangladesh to 161/2 at the halfway mark of the innings and leave the match evenly poised.

After Labuschagne struck twice to run out Shanto and Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim (21) looked solid until caught trying to lift the run rate as Zampa claimed outright first place for the most wickets at the Cricket World Cup thus far.

Bangladesh were able to pass 300 and push toward their highest total of the tournament while Australia picked up regular wickets at the death to ensure it was a target they would still be confident of reaching.

Playing XIs

Australia: Travis Head, David Warner, Mitch Marsh, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Inglis, Marcus Stoinis, Pat Cummins (c), Sean Abbott, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood.

Bangladesh: Tanzid Hasan Tamim, Litton Kumer Das, Najmul Hossain Shanto (c), Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad, Tawhid Hridoy, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Mahedi Hasan, Nasum Ahmed, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman.