WT20 : Australia vs Bangladesh World T20 Preview

WT20 : Australia vs Bangladesh World T20 Preview

Both teams need a win after having lost their opening ICC World Twenty20 2016 matches, and will be revved for an important clash

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On Monday (March 21), two teams that have both lost their opening encounters go head-to-head at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore in what is an extremely important ICC World Twenty20 2016 game in Group 2 of the Super 10 phase. Bangladesh, who will have to deal with missing out on the services of Taskin Ahmed and Arafat Sunny, had a light training session while the Australians, who reached Bangalore only on Sunday morning, opted to rest.

Steven Smith, the Australia captain, did, however, find time to steal a quick look at the pitch for the match and sounded reasonably happy with what he saw – a fair bit of grass.

“Looking at how dry it is and that kind of thing, I don’t think this will take as much turn as the last couple that we have seen. It looks a pretty good wicket. It looks very similar to what a lot of the IPL wickets look like, and generally those games are pretty high-scoring. I think you’ll see something like that tomorrow,” said Smith.

Grass. Not much spin. A little help for pacers. All that should work to Australia’s favour even if Bangladesh’s pace resources aren’t inconsiderable. Even without Taskin, it has Al-Amin Hossain and Mashrafe Mortaza, certain picks in the XI, in its ranks. There are also Abu Hider Rony and Mustafizur Rahman, the last of them yet to be fully fit following the side strain he picked up during the recent Asia Cup.

Hider might not get a look in but, because of Taskin’s absence, “Even if Mustafiz is at 20% fit, he has to play; we don’t have any players”, said Mashrafe on Sunday.

Indications, however, were that Bangladesh will bolster its spin front a bit too. Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah are in the XI, and if a replacement for one of Taskin or Sunny comes through, there could be an addition to the spin stocks.

One change that is very likely in the Australian side is Josh Hazlewood coming in for Ashton Agar. “He’s got the skills, he hits the seam, and if there is still some grass on the wicket, you’ll see him coming into contention,” said Smith.

Australia and Bangladesh don’t have much history in Twenty20 Internationals, having played each other just thrice – Australia have won all of them – but Chandika Hathurusinghe’s presence in the Bangladesh back room has been a topic of some interest, especially with Mortaza saying the coach has been handing out tips about the Australian players.

“I think he reads the game really well, he understands batting really well, he was really good in the time he had at New South Wales (as assistant coach),” said Smith about his association with Hathurusinghe, but felt that wouldn’t give the opposition an advantage. “They are a very much-improved side with a lot of match-winners, and they have learnt a lot under Chandika Hathurusinghe, and they will be a big challenge for us tomorrow night. (But) we are pretty sure of our combinations and how our players are going to play in these conditions. We know what to expect from Bangladesh and we are ready to go.”

Ordinarily, Australia would be favourite against Bangladesh, but the Asian side’s recent run of good form has evened things out a bit. Mortaza acknowledged that Australia “can destroy any team”, but Smith was taking nothing for granted, the fact that Australia have never won the World T20 possibly on his mind. “I still think we have the right personnel here to get the job done. For us it’s about making sure we improve in the middle overs and keep the wickets in the shed so we can use that power to have some success over here. If we can, I’m confident we’ll get enough runs and our bowlers will do the job to get us a few wins,” he said.

With a batting line-up reading Shane Watson, Usman Khawaja, Smith himself, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh and James Faulkner, and Aaron Finch in the reserves, one would back Australia to get those runs more often than not.

Both teams need a win, and both have men capable of delivering. It will all come down to who executes their skills better on match day.

Teams (from)
Australia: Steven Smith (capt), David Warner (vice-capt), Ashton Agar, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, John Hastings, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Nevill (wk), Andrew Tye, Shane Watson, Adam Zampa.

Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Mahmudullah, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Sabbir Rehman, Abu Hider, Nurul Hasan, Al-Amin Hossain, Nasir Hossain, Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mohammed Mithun, Mustafizur Rahman, Shuvagata Hom*, Saqlain Sajib*.

* Yet to be approved by the ICC Event Technical Committee