20 February 2015
Australia v Bangladesh Preview, Match 11 at Brisbane
Bangladesh may miss out on pace test at the Gabba, but one point from a washed out match could prove crucial in the final analysis
The past record is in favour of Australia. Over the last 25 years, going back to an Australasia Cup game at Sharjah in April 1990, Australia and Bangladesh have met on 19 occasions. As a cricket nation, Bangladesh will never forget what happened in Cardiff on June 18, 2005. But as Mashrafe Mortaza said on the eve of the Brisbane game, it was a long time ago. Either side of that, Australia has won 18 times, including victories previous World Cup meetings, in 1999 and 2007.
Bangladesh could well find itself in a three-way tussle with Sri Lanka and England for the last two quarterfinal slots from Pool A, and to that end, a point gained from a rained out match could make a crucial difference. The flipside is, Bangladesh might miss an opportunity to see how well its recent tweaks on the batting front are working out by going up against a formidable Australian pace attack at the Gabba.
Soumya Sarkar delivered a lovely cameo against Afghanistan, but the other three in the top four – Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque and Mahmudullah – will want some more fluency. Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim injected momentum into the innings, and on current form, these two are Bangladesh's best batsmen.
Both, however, are batting outside the top four, in what is an insurance policy of sorts against any possible batting collapse up front.
If a stroke of meteorological luck makes even a curtailed game possible, it’s almost certainly that Bangladesh will face an all-pace attack. Before Australia’s training session at the Gabba on the eve of the game, there was talk of Pat Cummins coming into the XI. Whether it would be a straight swap with Josh Hazlewood remained to be seen. Even with James Faulkner out injured, Australia has plentiful all-round options. Mitchell Marsh, after a five-wicket haul against England, should keep his place, and Shane Watson is unlikely to be judged on the basis of a first-ball dismissal.
Bangladesh's bowlers were quietly impressive at the Manuka Oval, but they will have to deal with the depth of Australia’s batting. Even with David Warner, Watson and Steven Smith failing to get going, Australia posted 342 against England. You could argue that Michael Clarke coming in to lead the side – he averages 83.62 after 18 World Cup matches – in place of George Bailey makes the line-up even more daunting. Mitchell Starc, who batted at No.10 against England, has a highest Test score of 99.
Bangladesh last played an ODI in Australia in 2008, at the Marrara Cricket Ground in Darwin. This contest, at a venue referred to as the Gabbatoir, would have been quite a baptism to cricket at the traditional Australian venues. Unfortunately, Cyclone Marcia is poised to have the final word.
Australia (likely): David Warner, Aaron Finch, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (capt), Steve Smith, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Brad Haddin (wk), Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins.
Bangladesh (likely): Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque, Soumya Sarkar, Mahmudullah, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Sabbir Rahman, Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Taijul Islam, Taskin Ahmed, Rubel Hossain.
Sri Lanka v Afghanistan Preview, Match 12 at Dunedin
Pakistan v West Indies Preview, Match 10 at Christchurch