Former Australian skipper Mark Taylor feels Mitchell Marsh should stick to hitting the ball as hard as he can in the semifinal clash against South Africa. Marsh scored a magnum opus knock of 177 runs off just 132 balls with the help of 17 fours and nine sixes in Australia’s last league stage match against Bangladesh at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune on Saturday, for which he was awarded Player of the Match.
The right-hander smashed the ball like a hulk as he took Bangladesh bowlers to the cleaners in the run-chase of 307 runs. Marsh has amassed 426 runs in eight matches of the ongoing World Cup 2023 at an impressive average of 60.86 and a strike rate of 109.51.
Ergo, he has played a key role in helping Australia qualify for the semifinals as he has played with freedom at the top of the order.
“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.
On the other hand, Taylor reckons Smith will feel a sign of relief as Marsh delivered while batting at one down. Smith has scored 268 runs in eight matches at an average of 38.28.
“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 second semifinal at Eden Gardens, Kolkata on Thursday.