Cummins claims hat-trick in 17-year first as Aussies smash Bangladesh to extend World Cup unbeaten run to five

A hat-trick from Pat Cummins and a half-century from David Warner have steered Australia to a comfortable victory over Bangladesh in a rain-affected Super 8s clash in Antigua, to extend their unbeaten start to the T20 World Cup to five matches.

After Mitchell Marsh won the toss and chose to bowl first amid intermittent drizzle, a trademark Mitchell Starc strike in the game’s first over to bowl Tigers opener Tanzid Hasan gave Australia an immediate advantage that was seldom challenged.

But while Starc (1/21) and Josh Hazlewood (0/25 with a maiden) immediately began suffocating Bangladesh’s top order and Adam Zampa (2/24) was at his miserly best in the middle overs, it was Pat Cummins who stole the show with ball in hand after claiming a hat-trick in the final overs.

Recalled to the team along with Starc at the expense of back-up bowlers Nathan Ellis and Ashton Agar, the Test captain had Tigers veteran Mahmudullah dragging on before Mahedi Hasan was caught at third man with the final two balls of the innings’ third-last over.

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Then, when Towhid Hridoy ramped the first ball of the final over to Hazlewood at short fine leg, Cummins joined Brett Lee in becoming just the second Australian to claim a hat-trick in a T20 World Cup match – the former paceman’s coming against Bangladesh as well at the inaugural tournament back in 2007.

Welcome to the hat-trick club, Pat Cummins! #T20WorldCup

— (@cricketcomau) June 21, 2024

Just as valuably, Cummins conceded just 12 from his final two overs to restrict Bangladesh to 8/140 from their 20 overs, a target that never felt remotely enough as a 65-run stand from Travis Head and Warner made light work of the chase before the weather intervened.

“To end the over, I saw it [being on a hat-trick] come up on the screen, so I thought ‘I’ll make sure I remember’ – and I totally forgot about it!” player of the match Cummins laughed after the match was called off.

“I thought throughout the whole innings, we managed to take a few wickets, which gave ourselves a chance to restrict them.

“I had a few [hat-tricks] in juniors, but never for Australia. In fact, Ash Agar and Nathan Ellis, both on the bench today, they’ve got T20 hat-tricks, so I’ve joined their club!

“It’s pretty awesome to tick that off. It’s a good club to be part of.”

Australia’s only stutter with the bat came immediately after the first of two rain delays, with Head (31 off 21) bowled by Rishad Hossain before the leg-spinner accounted for Marsh (1) to a close LBW in his next over.

Marsh’s failure leaves him with just 76 runs in five innings at the tournament so far, and briefly threatened a Bangladesh comeback; but while Warner and Glenn Maxwell (14 off six balls) steadied the ship to leave Australia 28 runs clear of the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern system-appointed par total when another burst of rain hit the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, the captain’s form is the primary concern for the Australian camp ahead of tough encounters to come against India and Afganistan.

However, speaking after the match, the captain had no concerns about his form so long as the team keeps winning.

“Everyone chipped in – the boys played well tonight,” Marsh said.

As he so often does, Starc took no time at all to have an impact, the left-armer’s full length making mincemeat of Tanzid’s stumps as the Bangladesh opener paid the price for nonexistent footwork.

A second-over maiden from Hazlewood had Australia in control, but having struggled mightily throughout the group stage, Tigers captain Najmul Hossain Shanto appeared determined to lead his team back into the contest.

A stunning lofted six down the ground to start Hazlewood’s next over was the result, with the number three doing the lion’s share of the scoring in a 58-run partnership with the more sedate Litton Das.

Working the field nicely and picking off regular boundaries with a combination of deft glances and well-timed whips off the pads, Shanto remained the key wicket even as Australia struck twice at the other end to remove Das for 16 and promoted pinch-hitter Hossain for 2.

As is so often the case, it was Zampa who made the crucial breakthrough: having castled Das with a straight skidder that slid past the Tiger’s slog to leg, a similar delivery trapped Shanto plumb in front for 41 as he attempted a sweep, the captain wisely eschewing a review that would have confirmed his downfall.

Having well and truly taken control, Australia duly tightened the screws, with star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan’s poor tournament continuing when he was deceived by a Marcus Stoinis slower ball to chip up a simple return catch for just 8.

It was only a crunching cameo from Hridoy, making clever use of the short North Sound boundary and a favourable breeze to swat Stoinis for consecutive sixes to leg, that kept Bangladesh on track for 150.

Even that, though, would prove a bridge too far when Cummins returned to clinch his hat-trick and scythe through the Bangladesh middle order, with Hridoy’s late charge ending on 40 to become the third wicket in the chain.

Pat Cummins celebrates his hat-trick with Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Starc. (Photo by Jan Kruger-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

With just five boundaries from the tenth over onwards, Bangladesh had mustered just 73 runs, in a welcome return to form for the Australian attack having bowled sloppily in a tense group stage win over Scotland.

Needing just 141 for victory, Australia looked safe from the moment an audacious Warner reverse-sweep off the second ball of the innings flew off the top edge and down to the fine boundary, leaving Mahedi wincing in disbelief.

The Tigers’ last chance of forging a comeback died when a difficult chance to remove the opener was spurned to start the second over, a sharp cut dropped low down at point.

In a mood to cash in, Warner slog-swept a six onto the grass banks in the next over, and together with Head, set about peppering the boundary ropes and stands alike for the remainder of the PowerPlay.

A brutal Head six over deep mid-wicket forced an equipment change after a hefty chunk was taken out of the ball, the South Australian seeming keen to repeat the dose as the usually economical Mustafizur Rahman had a half-volley dispatched over his head and into the sightscreen.

When Warner rocked back and deposited a half-tracker from Mahedi over deep mid-wicket for another six, Australia had 0/59 off their PowerPlay, with the run rate reduced to under a run a ball.

Another reverse-sweep for four from Warner preceded a brief rain break, but the delay was just what Bangladesh needed to stop the Aussie momentum.

Sure enough, Head was castled by a skidder from Hossain just three balls after the resumption, and when Marsh was trapped in front by the same bowler – albeit with the ball projected to have only fractionally clipped leg stump after a review – the Tigers were at least asking questions.

Maxwell’s arrival soon put paid to that: having endured a nightmare World Cup with the bat to date, the six balls the all-rounder faced showed signs his touch is returning, featuring a superbly timed cover drive for four and a leg-side swat that sailed flat and hard over the ropes for six.

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There was just enough time for Warner to bring up a 34-ball 50 in style via a flick over deep square leg before the rain returned, this time for good; Australia’s score of an even 100 well and truly ahead of the DLS par total.

The team next heads to Kingstown in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to face tournament dark horse Afghanistan on Sunday (AEST), with an excellent net run rate of 2.47 thanks to their comprehensive win in Antigua booting their chances of progressing to the semi-finals.

The Tigers, meanwhile, will likely need to win both their last two games to reach the next stage, though they will remain in Antigua to face India in two days’ time.

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