By Rex Clementine

Last World Cup, we were all overawed by Pat Cummins’ leadership qualities as they went on to win the title in Ahmedabad overcoming India, who had remained unbeaten in the competition. This World Cup we are admiring his bowling feats that has brought Australia to the brink of yet another semi-final in an ICC event.

Given Cummins success as Australia’s leader, he would have remained the undisputed leader for some time. But the Aussies think differently. They felt the need for fresh thinking in the T-20 format and handed the captaincy to Mitchell Marsh, despite his history of injury woes. Steve Smith would have walked into any side in this tournament, but the Aussies feel that he is over the hill. Hence, he’s not part of this campaign.

There’s still room for Cummins as a player though. He showcased why in Antigua at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

It was the seventh hat-trick in T-20 World Cups and the second by an Australian after Brett Lee’s feat in the inaugural edition of the competition in 2007.

At 122 for six heading into the last two overs, Bangladesh were looking to get beyond 150 but Cummins cut it down by at least ten runs.

Riyad Mahmudullah dragged one on to the stumps after being hurried up while Mahedi Hasan hit the next ball straight down the throat of third man. The hat-trick was split over two overs. In the first ball of the last over, Cummins experimented with a slower ball. Towhid Hridoy tried to execute a pre-meditated scoop shot over short fine leg, but the ball didn’t have the pace to carry it over the fielder and Josh Hazlewood completed the catch.

The run chase was delayed by rain, but when it began, David Warner and Travis Head added 65 runs for the first wicket. Leg-spinner Rishad Hossain made the breakthrough and then trapped Marsh leg before wicket. But Australia had enough batting depth to chase down the target.

When rain once again stopped proceedings, Australia had runs in abundance and were declared winners by 28 runs. The former champions are one win away from a semi-final berth.

If they win their next game against Afghanistan in St. Vincent, the final second round game against India in St. Lucia becomes a dead rubber.

On current form, India and Australia could go on to meet each other in the grand final in Barbados on the 29th of June.