Australia-Bangladesh fight today

Bappu Mahmud

Bangladesh will be confident when they face a stiff test against Australia in their crucial World Cup fixture at Trent Bridge today. Bangladesh came out with a commanding performance in their last game against the Windies as they comfortably chased down 322-run target in Taunton. Shakib al Hasan (124*) and Liton Das (94*) played brilliant knocks as the Bangla Tigers made mockery of the Windies total and crossed the line with more than 50 balls to spare.
With wins against South Africa and Windies, Bangladesh have declared that they are no more underdogs and, now, they would aim to make a place in the semifinals.

Tigers have been excellent so far, but it would be really interesting to see if they can live up to the challenge of competing against the five-time champions, after producing some strong efforts in the ICC World Cup 2019. But Aussies will be aiming for another win and a step closer to the last four berth. In the form of his life, Shakib has already hit back-to-back centuries and Australia would still remember that it was he, who had plotted their downfall in Bangladesh's historic Test victory against them two years ago with a 10-wicket match haul.

The format is different but Coach Justin Langer admitted that his side will have to deal with Shakib. "He (Shakib) probably is the world's best all-rounder and a left-arm spinner," said Langer. Australia are doing what they do best at World Cup. Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins are proving to be a nightmare to face. Aaron Finch and David Warner have been providing solid starts. Steve Smith has been a rock in the middle-order.

The Aaron Finch-led side is at number two behind table-toppers England, though it also has eight points from five matches. Australia (0.812) are marginally behind the hosts (1.862) when Net Run Rate is taken into account. Mitchell Starc are among the bowlers to have taken 20 or more wickets in World Cups, Starc's average of 13.51 and strike-rate of 18.8 are the best ever.

Starc takes just over two-and-a-half wickets a game and concedes runs at 4.30 an over. To put things in perspective, if teams faced only Starc when they batted, they would manage about 135 runs per innings before being bowled out. Staggering.