Australia chased down 307 runs with ease in their final league-stage match against Bangladesh in World Cup 2023. Playing at the Maharashtra Association Stadium in Pune, Australia made things look easy hitting the winning runs with 32 balls remaining.
All-rounder Mitchell Marsh was named player of the match for his rapid 177* off 132 balls against the Najmul Shanto side. Marsh, who hit his second World Cup 2023 century earned praise from former Australia cricketer Mark Taylor, who asked the all-rounder to stick to his incredible hitting prowess and leave the nudging around to players like Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne.
“He had a couple of games where he started to try and nurdle it around like Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne,” Taylor said on Channel 9.
“Someone got a hold of him and said, ‘Mate, you hit the ball and hit it hard’ … that’s the way he’s got to play. Steve Smith and Labuschagne will bat down the order and they can do the nurdling, Mitchell Marsh at No.3 can hit the ball and hit it hard,” he further added.
Marsh’s knock on 11 November included a staggering nine sixes, marking the ninth occasion of a batter hitting nine or more sixes in an innings in the World Cup and the fourth such instance by an Australian player.
Marsh’s innings was not just about power-hitting; it was also about strategic play and resilience. He started quickly off the blocks during the powerplay and once the field was spread, he adeptly rotated the strike and patiently waited for poor deliveries to exploit. His flawless innings was marked by his ease at scoring boundaries, which kept the scoreboard ticking and the pressure on the opposition.
Despite feeling exhausted and cramping during his innings, Marsh persevered, attributing his success to keeping his heart rate low and focusing on the task at hand. His monumental effort, combined with half-centuries from David Warner and Steve Smith, made light work of what could have been a challenging chase, propelling Australia towards the semi-finals full of confidence.
“I think after last night he (Smith) probably feels a bit better,” Taylor said.
“Mitchell Marsh, before last night, to be honest at No.3 where he’s moved to hadn’t done that well, he’d only averaged 23 at No.3, Steve Smith averages 53. That’s why Smith was upset about being moved to No.4,” Taylor revealed
“But we saw last night … in those powerplay overs he is dynamic, Mitchell Marsh because he hits the ball and hits the ball hard,” Taylor lauded the all-rounder.
Australia will take on South Africa in the semi-final at Eden Gardens.