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News Room : Stokes shines again as England flex batting muscles – The Island


Mitchell Marsh headlined Australia’s dominating win against Bangladesh in Pune on Saturday (November 11) as the Pat Cummins-led side ended the league stage of the World Cup with seven wins out of nine ahead of their semifinal clash against South Africa in Kolkata. Bangladesh came up with a collective effort with the bat, with Towhid Hridoy spearheading the effort with a 74, as they posted 306/8, their highest total in this World Cup. But it proved too little against Marsh’s imperious 177* off 132, which came in two century partnerships – 120 with David Warner (53) and 175* with Steve Smith (63*) – as Australia raced to the target with 8 wickets in hand and 5.2 overs to spare.

Travis Head hit a couple of boundaries before he dragged a delivery onto the stumps to give Taskin Ahmed a wicket in the third over. Bangladesh operated with Mahedi Hasan from the other end as they tried to apply some pressure with spin but Marsh ensured there was no stagnation as he hit three fours in an over off the spinner, followed by a boundary and a six off Taskin as well. After a watchful start, Warner also got into the act with two fours in an over off Nasum Ahmed and the left-arm spinner was also hit for a six by Marsh. Mahedi, meanwhile, bowled a couple of quiet overs as Australia moved to 58/1 after 10 overs.

Whenever Bangladesh tried to keep things tight, Marsh provided the release with timely boundaries. Mehidy Hasan was also on the receiving end as he was hit for a four and a six off the first two balls he bowled, and Marsh collected a four off Mustafizur Rahman as well en route to a 37-ball fifty. Warner was pacing his innings well at the other end, rotating the strike and managing fours from time to time, with his fourth boundary helping Australia reach the 100 run mark in the 15th over. Warner struck two more fours, off Nasum in the 19th over – the first one extended the partnership past 100 and the second helped the left-hander reach a 52-ball fifty. Warner, however, was early into a drive and was dismissed by Mustafizur. Najmul Hossain Shanto held on to the ball at mid on but lost control of it when he tried to throw, but the umpires did not check the legality of the catch.

Marsh continued confidently, creaming boundaries off the pace bowlers regularly as he entered the 80s and helped Australia past 150 in the 25th over. He quickly entered the 90s, striking a six and a four off Mehidy, and then got to 100 off 87 balls with a single off Nasum in the 31st over. In the same over, Smith got going with a four and a six while Marsh, after going a bit quiet as he approached three figures, got back to his aggressive ways with sixes off Mehidy and Mustafizur. Marsh was being hampered by cramps, limping between the wickets, but the boundaries did not stop as he struck a couple of them in Nasum’s over, and Smith also hit a four after playing out a maiden from Mustafizur.

The pair brought up a century stand in quick time and Smith got into the 40s, with Bangladesh not able to do much despite all their bowling changes. Marsh was charging towards 150 at the other end, adding to his fours and sixes tally, as Australia crossed 250 in the 39th over. Marsh reached 150 in style, scoring two successive fours off Mustafizur to get to the milestone off 117 deliveries. Smith then got to his 11th World Cup fifty-plus score, equalling Ricky Ponting and Warner, while Marsh continued to toy with the Bangladesh bowling with more maximums. He finished with 17 fours and nine sixes but it was Smith’s fourth boundary that sealed Australia’s commanding win.

Earlier, after Australia opted to bowl, Josh Hazlewood kept it tight at the start but Cummins was a bit erratic, conceding plenty of wides. The Bangladesh openers overcame a cautious start to score regular boundaries as they put on a good partnership. Tanzid Hasan and Litton Das managed 62 in the first powerplay without losing any wicket – their second highest score in this period in this World Cup, which was also the second highest conceded by Australia and also the fourth time they went wicketless. The stand finally came to an end in the 12th over when Sean Abbott had Tanzid fending a short ball back to him. Australia went ahead and tried more short balls but Najmul was prepared as he cracked a couple of pulls off Marsh for boundaries. But the well-set Litton departed soon after, chipping a catch to long on to give Adam Zampa a wicket.

There was an immediate transfer of pressure with Zampa and Head bowling well in tandem but Hridoy eased some of it with a six over midwicket off the legspinner. Najmul and Hridoy then came down the track and unsettled the lengths of Marcus Stoinis, collecting boundaries as a result. Hridoy also took the attack to Head, striking a four and a six, as Bangladesh reached 161/2 at the halfway stage, with the third wicket pair extending their partnership past 50. But it was an abrupt end to the association as a good bit of fielding from Marnus Labuschagne resulted in Najmul being run out for 45. Mahmudullah came out with a positive intent, dealing in sixes, before Labuschagne effected a run out again.

Shortly after Hridoy got to his first World Cup fifty, Mushfiqur Rahim sent an Abbott delivery over the midwicket fence as Bangladesh went past 250 in the 42nd over. But Rahim’s stay was cut short by Zampa, who surpassed Brad Hogg’s 21 wickets in 2007 to register the highest tally by an Australian spinner in a World Cup and finished with figures of 2 for 32. Cummins, meanwhile, had an expensive outing as both Hridoy and Mehidy struck plenty of boundaries. But Hridoy’s outing ended when he hit a full toss from Stoinis to Labuschagne at deep midwicket. A handy 29 from Mehidy helped Bangladesh past 300 but Australia did well in the death, conceding only one boundary in the last four overs.

Brief scores:
306/8 in 50 overs (Tanzid Hasan 36, Litton Das 36, Nalimul Hossain Shanto 45, Towhid Hridoy 74, Mahmudullah 32, Mushfiqr Rahim 21, Mehidy Hassan Miraz 29; Adam Zampa 2-32, Sean Abbott 2-61) lost to Australia 307/2 in 44.4 overs (Mitchell Marsh 177*, Steve Smith 63*, David Warner 53) by 8 wickets.