DHAKA: No one would disagree if Mashrafe led Team Tigers is tagged as one of most impressive teams in World Cup 2109. In 5 matches they have played so far they won against South Africa and West Indies, competed neck to neck with New Zealand, shared points in rain ruined match against Sri Lanka and went down fighting against England.
The batsmen are in excellent form, bowling and fielding improved with every match as players got used to English condition match by match. Placed at 5th position just behind England, Australia, New Zealand and India with 5 points from five matches Bangladesh is well placed of the other teams shaping up for dog fight for place among top four. Bangladesh plays reigning champions Australia tomorrow at Nottingham.
Reigning Champions Australia are in HEXA mission. They played 5 matches, losing against India and winning the remaining matches they have 8 points. This Australia team so far is not looking as unbeatable team they were during the past 5 world cups. It is not being Bangladesh capability of winning against them. The match at Nottingham on Thursday 20 June at Nottingham. Chasing 322 and winning big against West Indies the momentum is with team Tigers. A planned strategy and spirited display may earn them a victory though it may not be as easy as said. Australia always change gears gradually like very matured team.
My mates kept me pressing seeking my opinion about the recipe of tigers feasting with Kangaroo meat. For a Bangladeshi Australian having in depth knowledge about cricket of both Australia and Bangladesh my heart goes for Bangladesh but head leans towards Australia. It will be a very much a mind game. Bangladesh batting a bit stronger and deep than Australia. Australia edges Bangladesh in pace department, fielding and running between the wicket. Bangladesh has the most experienced players in Mashrafe, Shakib, Tamim, Mushfiq and Mahmudullah.
Australia has three top quality hard hitting batsmen in Flinch, Warner and Smith. Bangladesh with Shakib and Mehidy has better spin attack than Zampa and Maxwell. Australia has not yet used Lyon. The teams are well balanced as such. Bangladesh batsmen played brilliantly against pace attack of South Africa, New Zealand and West Indies. If they can repeat the performance against Starc and Cummins Bangladesh batsmen can definitely put together a challenging score to defend and if batting second chase. Bangladeshi fans in Nottingham would definitely out number Australians.
So what Bangladesh needs doing? If Australia bats first they must execute plan against Warner, Flinch and Smith clinically. Warner and Flinch like bowling coming to them at pace and space outside off stump. Giving Mustafiz and Mehidy Miraj few overs in the first power play may be useful. Warner has high respect for Fizz and he has known weakness against right hand off sinners. If Warner and Flinch can be kept quiet for few overs they will be prone to mistakes and Bangladesh must grab any half chances coming their way. Smith also makes a slow start and first few overs he is vulnerable with balls coming into him from just short of length.
Shakib is an ideal bowler for him when he gets at the wicket. If somehow Bangladesh can get these three before they set their roots at the wicket Bangladesh has better chance of strangling the middle order with controlled spin bowling by Shakib, Miraj and Mosaddek and accurate Mashrafe. Saifuddin and Mustafiz can deliver at death overs. Shaun Marsh, Maxwell and Carey are not like great middle order batsmen of the past .Bangladesh should go all out to restrict Australia below 280.
When Bangladesh bats key would be not losing any early wicket to Starc and Cummins. Any score of 40/0 in 10 overs would be great for very strong middle and late order chasing score. There is no need attacking Australia front line bowlers in early over. That does not necessarily mean Bangladesh must not punish loose deliveries. But quality bowlers like Starc and Cummins would obviously test Bangladesh top order with fast deliveries on teasing length.
It is a great sign that Tamim is getting into his strides and Soumya is doing his bit. Shakib is in prolific form. Mashrafe has impressive record against Australia. Mahmudullah is due for a good innings. Liton impressed with his aggressive innings against West Indies. Mosadeek, Miraj and Saifuddin are no mug with the bat. The key would be playing positively, fielding smartly as they did in four matches they played so far.
Australia for their reputations sake as defending champions and HEXA mission will be under pressure. Momentum belongs to Bangladesh. I think two teams are equally balanced. The team which can maintain composure at the critical moments would survive. A win tomorrow by Bangladesh will brighten their possibility of qualifying for the knock out round. As a Bangladeshi Australian it is not possible to write or add more.
IT IS HEAD IN WIN AND TAIL YOU LOOSE STORY FOR ME.Wish better team on the day win.
BDST: 1754 HRS, JUN 19, 2019