Tigers in Kangaroo’s land
Bangladesh vs Australia
Brisbane Cricket Ground, Woolloongabba, Brisbane
21 February, 2015
9:30 am Bangladesh time
One down, six to go. Bangladesh have begun brilliantly, swatting aside Afghanistan with a superbly professional and clinical performance at Canberra’s Manuka Oval in the seventh match of ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
With victory comes confidence, especially needed for the Tigers, since they were under the cosh for four consecutive defeats in the warm up matches in Australia. Losing against Afghanistan was not an option. The shock at Asia Cup had to be a fluke. After all, Test playing nations are supposed to win against Associate countries, often giving them a good thrashing in the process.
Bangladesh Cricket team did just that. Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim battered the Afghan bowlers to a pulp. The top-ranking all-rounder plundered 63 runs from 51 balls, becoming the first Bangladeshi batsman to cross the 4000 runs milestone in ODIs during his innings.
Man of the match Mushfiqur was the top-scorer with 71 runs, most of them he scored in a match-winning 114 run partnership with Shakib. The opening and top-order batsmen were watchful to begin with, only going for the rank long-hops and juicy half-volleys, which were few and far between. Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque and Mahmudullah got bogged down as the Afghan pace bowlers exploited the two new white balls from each end quite well.
Captain Mashrafe Mortaza must be happy with his form, particularly with the rhythm of his action in the matches he played after landing in Australia. He had the best bowling analysis in the Afghanistan match, took 3 wickets and gave away only 20 runs in 9 overs of sharp bowling. The spin department lead by Shakib did not undo the good work of the fast bowlers. They kept things tight and picked wickets when batsmen tried to hit out of frustration.
Tiger’s next outing will be against the host in the eleventh match of the World Cup. Australia have been at their dominant best, resembling the hay days of McGrath-Warne era, when they were nearly unbeatable, especially at their backyard. Their batting and bowling units are looking dangerous, with most players peaking at the right time at this competition.
The tri-series prior to the World Cup saw Australia fine-tune their winning combination after thrashing England and India out of the park. In their first warm-up match, they continued their dominance against India with a convincing 106 run victory at the Adelaide Oval.
David Warner played a typically aggressive knock at the top of the order, bludgeoning 104 runs from 83 balls. He was particularly severe on anything short and wide, hitting 14 boundaries and 2 massive sixes. Glenn Maxwell provided the real entertainment in that match. He made a mockery of the field placing, leaving Mahendra Dhoni scratching his head as his bowlers were slogged, swept, paddled, reverse swept and literally smashed silly by Mad Max. He scored 122 runs from only 57 balls, and announced his intentions for the World Cup most emphatically.
The pace trio -- Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood -- has become quite lethal in their home conditions, bowling really sharp to exploit the two new balls from each end. Shaun Marsh and Shane Watson have looked on song so far, and managed to keep things quiet in their quota of overs. On the whole, the bowling unit is firing in all cylinders for Australia, giving Captain George Bailey a pleasant headache while choosing the best bowlers for a match.
Bangladesh Tigers are going to the face the red-hot team in this competition – Australia, the host billed as favourites for the World Cup. Even Michael Clarke has recuperated well within short time, and will be featuring in the top-order. Apparently, Australia hasn’t exposed any chinks in their armour, and look to steamroll their way to the finals. For Bangladesh, they’ll face tall odds to hunt down the Aussies in their backyard. Even if the Tigers play brilliantly in all departments, the Kangaroos must have a howler of a day to lose at Brisbane.