NOTTINGHAM, England — Australia strengthened its Cricket World Cup semifinal credentials and punctured Bangladesh’s in a 48-run victory at Trent Bridge June 20.
David Warner became the tournament’s leading run-scorer by hitting 166 in two century partnerships that underlined a 381-5 total, the second highest in World Cups for Australia.
Then Mitchell Starc grabbed sole leadership among the wicket-takers with his 14th and 15th as Bangladesh’s chase slowly unraveled and ended tamely on 333-8.
Mushfiqur Rahim finished a maiden World Cup century on 102 not out, but his team’s hopes faded halfway through its chase when Tamim Iqbal (62) was back in the pavilion with Shakib Al Hasan (41).
Australia, the defending champion back on top of the standings, goes to Lord’s June 25 to face top-ranked England in good shape. Since losing to India, Australia has won three straight group matches, and posted four consecutive 300-plus scores.
For Bangladesh, defeat means it has to win its last three matches against Afghanistan, mighty India, and Pakistan to make its first World Cup semifinals. Not impossible, but the top four of Australia, New Zealand, England and India looks increasingly set.
Bangladesh beat Australia only once — 14 years ago — but came to this contest in high spirits after a record win against two-time champion West Indies June 17, and roared on by unwavering support from the mainly green-jerseyed crowd.
But the chase stuttered out of the gate. Soumya Sarkar was stranded by Tamim and run out on 10 by a superb slide and direct hit from Aaron Finch in the fourth over.
Shakib arrived and looked good to become the first Bangladeshi to hit six successive fifties in one-day internationals. But on 41 off 41 balls he mistimed a slower ball from medium-pacer Marcus Stoinis and gave an easy catch at mid off in the 19th over. The crowd fell silent as it absorbed the massive blow to Bangladesh’s hopes, and Shakib walked off slowly.
Meanwhile, Australia celebrated the significance of the wicket by smothering Stoinis, back after missing two games with a left side strain, in multiple hair rubbings.
Tamim had to go big, and the team’s best batsman hit his first half-century of this World Cup. Then on 62 he chopped on, giving Starc a tournament-leading 14th wicket. The run rate required was almost up to 10.
The next ball, Liton Das ducked into a Starc bouncer and was hit on the side of his helmet. Starc gave empathy, and Liton continued with a new helmet. He lasted five more overs, out for 20.
Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah, with a dozen years together in the national team, dug in and enjoyed the sun-baking pitch at run-a-ball pace from overs 30 to 40. They had Bangladesh tracking almost similarly with Australia.
But Australia had three more wickets in hand, and exploded.
Mahmudullah gave it a push with three sixes and two boundaries, but he holed out on the square leg boundary on 69 off 50 balls. On the next ball, Sabbir Rahman chopped on for a first-ball duck, extending fans’ wait for him to transfer his destructive abilities from the domestic to international stage.
Sabbir’s departure prompted fans to stream out with four overs to go, missing Mushfiqur becoming the third Bangladeshi to score a hundred in World Cups after Mahmudullah and Shakib, and Bangladesh reaching its highest ODI total, but it was only window dressing.