Pat Cummins on Saturday conceded Australia will be facing selection headaches going into their World Cup semifinal against South Africa, after Mitchell Marsh’s 177 not out powered the five-time champions to a commanding eight-wicket win against Bangladesh in the last league game. Australia, who began the World Cup campaign with two losses on the trot, have now seven consecutive wins and will face South Africa in the second semifinal at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata on November 16. Marsh’s 177 not out (132 balls, 17x4s, 9x6s) follows a stunning knock of 201 not out from all-rounder Glenn Maxwell against Afghanistan in Mumbai last week, who single-handedly made the bulk of the runs when Australia were reduced to 91 for seven chasing 292.
“We thought it was a really good wicket and thought we could get that total. All 15 players have played this tournament now and we go up to Kolkata, re-assess and perhaps a few selection headaches there,” Cummins said at post-match presentation ceremony.
With injury to Travis Head (hand) and Marsh returning home during their World Cup campaign due to a personal loss, it was only in their last two matches that Australia finally had their preferred squad of 15 at their disposal.
Maxwell, who struggled with severe cramps all over his body in his monumental knock against Afghanistan, will be in mix for the semifinal along with Marsh. The ‘selection headache’ originates from the fact that both Maxwell and Marsh have struck two centuries each in the World Cup.
“He (Mitchell Marsh) played beautifully and the tempo he played with was sustainable and the way he finished off the innings, it’s a scary prospect to have him next week,” Cummins said.
“(Winning) seven games in a row, I think chasing 300 was something really special and everything is clicking together,” said Cummins after Australia recorded their highest successful chase in World Cup history.
Marsh said he was surprised to have been named the Man of the Match after a costly spell with the ball in the first half of the match.
“It’s rare that you’d win the Man of the Match award after going for nearly fifty from 4 overs, but I would want to contribute more to the team. It was important for me to back myself at (No) 3, knowing when Head comes back, I’ll have to go down. Have failed a few times, but have backed myself to perform,” he said.
“Sure my mum and dad would be watching back home and they would be happy with this, my grandpop (who died last week) was a great man and I’m sure he’d be happy out there,” he added.
“I think we’re peaking well at the moment and looking forward to the semi-finals in Kolkata,” he added.
Stand-in captain Najmul Hossain Shanto said Bangladesh will look into all their league stage games for improvement after they finished eighth with two wins and seven defeats.
“It’s disappointing, we didn’t play our best this tournament. We will see what we can do better from now,” he said.
“Mahmuduallah batted really well in this World Cup and Shakib (Al Hasan) also bowled well in a couple of games. We have to improve as a team. It is not about individual performances, we want to look at the nine games and work on areas we need to improve,” he said.
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