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Why Australia can't afford to take Bangladesh lightly

Source: PTI
June 20, 2024 14:41 IST
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IMAGE: 2021 World T20 champions Australia will be mindful of the dangers of taking Bangladesh lightly on a slow pitch in Antigua. Photograph: ICC/X

It's a mismatch on paper but title-favourites Australia would be wary of slipping on the proverbial banana peel that Bangladesh can be when the two teams clash in their Super Eight, Group 1, match of the T20 World Cup in North Sound, Antigua, on Friday (6am IST).

Australia, champions of the 2021 edition of the T20 World Cup, will be mindful of the dangers of taking Bangladesh lightly.


Australia were humbled 1-4 by Bangladesh in a T20 International series in 2021, and any laxity can be severely punished in conditions in Antigua that have close resemblance to the sub-continent.

From an Australian perspective, it might bring increased onus on leg-spinner Adam Zampa and part-timers such as Glenn Maxwell and Travis Head.

Keeping in mind the inherent slowness of the pitch, Australia might also mull retaining left-arm spinner Ashton Agar, who is a handy bat too, from their last group match against Scotland.

But irrespective of the conditions or nature of the pitch, Australia's real strength lies in its pacers -- Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood -- who are persistently nagging.

Cummins and Hazlewood are set to return for this match after sitting out of the Scotland game.

IMAGE: Bangladesh will hope that their assortment of clever and experienced T20 bowlers can deliver against the Australian batters. Photograph: ICC/X

The Aussies have also received a boost as captain Mitchell Marsh has declared himself fit to bowl in the Super Eight stage.

"I'll be available to bowl. With the line-up that we've got, I don't really necessarily see a need for me to bowl.

"But I think it's really important in this format to have options and we're blessed with plenty of those," said Marsh in the pre-match press conference.

Not just in bowling, Australia carry heavy guns through their batting line-up as well.

Their top-six consisting of Head, David Warner, Marsh, Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Tim David can be a threat to any bowling line-up in the world.

All of them have chipped in with runs at various stages of this ICC showpiece, and now they will eye a collective firing.

Bangladesh will hope that their assortment of clever and experienced T20 bowlers like Mustafizur Rahman, Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah and Taskin Ahmed can deliver against the Australian batters.

However, Bangladesh's real problem lies in a rickety batting line-up.

The batters are as experienced as any of their counterparts in the T20 format, but in this tournament, they have not really joined the party.

They stuttered through the group stage matches, and the highest total they could post was 159/5 against Netherlands.

Their other totals were 125/8, 109/7 (both while chasing against Sri Lanka and South Africa respectively), and 106 while batting first against Nepal.

So, there is a need for them to find their rhythm against a storied opponent.


Australia: Mitchell Marsh (captain), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis (w/k), Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (w/k), David Warner, Adam Zampa.

Bangladesh: Najmul Hossain Shanto (captain), Taskin Ahmed, Litton Das (w/k), Soumya Sarkar, Tanzid Hasan Tamim, Shakib Al Hasan, Tawhid Hridoy, Mahmud Ullah Riyad, Jaker Ali Anik, Tanvir Islam, Shak Mahedi Hasan, Rishad Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman, Shoriful Islam, Tanzim Hasan Sakib.

Match: Starts at 6am IST.

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