Marsh and Warner
Mitch Marsh and David Warner have helped Australia seal a major World Cup win with brilliant tons. Image by AP PHOTO
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Warner, Marsh send Aussies back into World Cup top four

Scott Bailey October 21, 2023

Australia’s World Cup campaign is back on track after David Warner and Mitch Marsh found form and Adam Zampa rose from his sick bed to power their side to a 62-run win over Pakistan.

In a crucial match for Australia’s finals hopes, Warner and Marsh both hit big centuries in a record-breaking 259-run opening stand to help Australia to 9-367 in Friday’s clash in Bengaluru.

Australia’s bowlers were then able to withstand an early attack, before steady wickets through the middle ensured they bowled out Pakistan for 305 in the 47th over.

David Warner century
 David Warner leaps for joy after completing his brilliant ton in Bengaluru. Image by AP PHOTO 

The win lifts Australia into the top four finals-paying spots for the first time, back on level pegging with a 2-2 record after initially dropping their first two games.

There were still some concerns, with Warner forced to downplay a groin niggle after failing to take to the field following his 163 from 124 balls in the first innings.

Warner has struggled with his groin in the past, but insisted on Friday that this was “all cramps”.

And while the margin was large, this victory was not as easy as the scoreboard suggested for Australia.

Needing to pull off the highest successful chase in World Cup history, Pakistan were 1-134 after 21 as Australia spilled two chances early.

Then Marcus Stoinis became the man to deliver.

The allrounder had Abdullah Shafique caught for 64 off the first ball he bowled, and then removed his opening partner Imam-ul-Huq out at deep third man for 70.

Josh Hazlewood (1-37) also bowled particularly tight to keep the pressure on Pakistan, while Zampa proved the key finisher.

Battling both illness and back soreness, the legspinner claimed 4-53 to set off a late collapse and end any hope of a Pakistan fightback when they required 100 from 68 balls.

Zampa got both Babar Azam (18) and Mohammad Rizwan (46), while the ball he skidded through to trap Iftikhar Ahmed lbw for 26 was crucial given the allrounder looked ready to launch.

“Lazarus has been awesome,” captain Pat Cummins quipped. 

“He has been in bed the last week or two. Showed his class, he is a real wicket-taker for us in the middle.”

Zampa gets rid of Rizwan
 Adam Zampa, hailed as ‘Lazarus’, roars after grabbing the key wicket of Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan. Image by AP PHOTO 

Earlier, Warner and Marsh could not have found a better time to produce Australia’s highest ever opening partnership at a World Cup.

The pair hit nine sixes each, with six of Marsh’s coming down the down the ground with thunderous straight drives.

Marsh’s 121 from 108 balls marked his first ODI century since January 2016, and came on the allrounder’s 32nd birthday.

But it was Warner who received the biggest gifts from Pakistan, when he skied a Shaheen Afridi (5-54) ball straight to mid on and Usama Mir failed even to get a hand to it.

Mir (1-82) then felt the pain for the next two hours as Warner and Marsh hit him around the park, while Warner was also dropped off the legspinner on 105 when Shafique grassed a chance on the boundary.

Haris Rauf copped the most punishment of any of the Pakistan bowlers, going for 3-83 from eight overs after David Warner scooped his second ball into the roof and 24 runs came from the quick’s first over.

Babar Azam caught by Cummins
 Australia captain Pat Cummins celebrates after his catch got rid of opposing captain Babar Azam. Image by AP PHOTO 

And while Australia should be unhappy that no-one in their middle order was able to push the total towards 400, Warner and Marsh’s efforts were enough to set up the victory.

“That was proper from those two,” Cummins said. 

“It set the tone, it’s how we want to play our cricket. To take 80-odd in the powerplay was impressive, we can’t ask for anything more than that.”