Hobart: Australia`s Mitchell Starc looked forward to the knockout stages of the World Cup with confidence after taking four wickets in the co-hosts` comfortable win over Scotland in their final Pool A match in Hobart on Saturday.
Michael Clarke`s men were already through to the quarter-finals but there was no easing up from left-arm fast bowler Starc at Bellerive Oval.
The 25-year-old took four for 14 in just 4.4 overs as Scotland were shot out for 130 after Clarke won the toss.
That left Starc topping the tournament bowling charts with 16 wickets in five matches at a stunningly low average of 8.50 apiece.
"I`ve been working quite hard with Craig McDermott (Australia`s bowling coach) since the one-day series in Zimbabwe. I look forward to continue with (my form) through the back-end (of the World Cup)," said Starc.
"Yeah, the ball is coming out nicely, I can`t complain at all. Well, it`s coming out consistently, but more importantly we`re winning games and that`s all that matters," the New South Wales paceman added.
Starc`s brilliant six for 28 almost rescued an improbable win for Australia over fellow co-hosts New Zealand at Auckland`s Eden Park in a match they eventually lost by just one wicket.
But since then it`s been a largely smooth ride into the quarter-finals for Clarke`s men, bidding to win Australia`s fifth World Cup title and first on home soil.
"As long as we`re winning games, confidence is going to be high, and especially going into the knockout stages, taking a bit of momentum," said Starc.
"I think we`re all bowling quite well, we`re training well, so yeah, personally it`s just nice to see the ball coming out consistently. We`re working on different plans, whether it be in training or in the game, but it`s nice to see them coming off."
Australia recalled fast bowler Pat Cummins for Saturday`s match, in place of spinner Xavier Doherty.
Although Cummins took three wickets, his seven overs cost 42 runs.
But Clarke said the match situation when Cummins was bowling had to be taken into account.
"He`s obviously had a little bit of a niggle there and he`s come back well," said Clarke.
"He bowled quick, bowled really good balls, got three wickets, and he went for a couple of runs, but I think the writing was on the wall for them; they (Scotland) were seven down and chancing their arm.
"I don`t think he bowled badly at all. He bowled some really good balls that got hit for runs. He`s only going to get better. He`s only 21. He`s had a couple days off from bowling. He`ll be better off for the run."
Clarke, who missed a midweek training session to `manage` his longstanding hamstring injury, then made a run-a-ball 47 after promoting himself up the order to open.
"I still felt a little bit rusty there with the bat," said Clarke. "Mentally all the guys are switched on, and because they`re training so well that makes life a lot easier, it`s just today things worked out nicely."
Australia will play as yet to be determined opponent in a quarter-final at the Adelaide Oval on Friday, March 20.
Asked how much he enjoyed playing in Adelaide, Sydney native Clarke jokingly replied: "Not as much as I enjoy Sydney.
"It`s always nice to play in Australia, it`s a ground that we`ve all played some cricket at and we all know quite well.
"We`ll prepare well, as we have done for the whole World Cup, and be ready to go no matter what we face."