Game for pressure
Mitchell Marsh, son of Geoff and brother of Shaun, who led the Australian under-19 team into the final of the World Cup, setting up a clash against Pakistan, reports Anand Vasu.cricket Updated: Jan 27, 2010 22:46 IST
His father was only one half of one of Australia’s most successful opening partnerships. His brother set the first edition of the Indian Premier League alight and has since played for Australia. His sister Melissa plays pro basketball for Perth Lynx in the WNBL. He himself is the youngest Australian, at 18, to play in the domestic one-day competition and could very easily have chosen a career in Australian Rules Football.
No pressure, then, on Mitchell Marsh, son of Geoff and brother of Shaun, who led the Australian under-19 team into the final of the World Cup, setting up a clash against Pakistan.
“I think the final will be the biggest game I’ve ever been involved in,” conceded Marsh, whose 92 ensured Australia closed out a tough semifinal against Sri Lanka.
After the Sri Lankans chose to bat, a top-order collapse meant they could only reach 205, thanks mainly to Akshu Fernando (52) and skipper Chathura Peiris (39). On a pitch that eased out in the warm Christchurch sun, Australia should have cantered to victory.
Instead, a nervous start, combined with some disciplined Sri Lankan bowling, prompted a mini collapse that left the team at 93 for 5. Marsh then kicked in, striking the ball back down the ground with power and cutting hard and accurately to ensure that boundaries came regularly.
A partnership of 78 with wicketkeeper Tom Triffit (50) took Australia closer, but a flurry of wickets and a series of tight overs meant the tension mounted as Sri Lanka’s supporters cranked up the volume in the embankments.Eventually, a couple of clean hits sealed the deal but only with nine balls and two wickets to spare.
“Dad just tells me to enjoy the game, even the pressure ones,” said Marsh soon after. “My goal has been to stand up in big matches, and there’s one more to go.”
Another reserve shines for India
After reserve batsman Akshat Reddy’s 94 against England, it was standby keeper Zahid Ali’s turn to save India the blushes. Ali mustered a rousing 98, being dismissed only in the last over of the Indian innings.
The top order failed yet again, crumbling to 15 for 4 before a rearguard action pushed the total to 235. South Africa knocked off the runs, with David White leading the six-wicket win that ended the tournament for India, who were placed sixth.