Bangladesh can strike a blow in rare meeting with Australia

Preview

The home side are missing some senior figures but Australia’s batting line-up is uncertain

Big picture

Another opportunity awaits for these two teams to work on plans and players to press for selection ahead of the T20 World Cup. The series could not be much more condensed – five matches played across seven days with two sets of back-to-back matches – but it has taken considerable work and negotiation to get this tour across the line.

It will be the first time Bangladesh and Australia have met in bilateral T20s – their previous four matches have all come in the T20 World Cup. Australia are currently 4-0 up but it would be no surprise to see that record slip over in the coming days with the patched-up nature of their batting line-up, further weakened from the side that lost 4-1 in the West Indies by the absence of Aaron Finch.
In Finch’s absence they will be led by Matthew Wade. The bowling attack remains potent, but with five matches very quickly, it remains to be seen how many of them – including the likes of Mitchell Starc – play.
There is disgruntlement in the Bangladesh camp that they won’t be able to call on the experience of Mushfiqur Rahim after he was unable to comply with the strict 10-day bubble requirements agreed by the boards to allow this series to go ahead.
Bangladesh are coming off a hard-earned 2-1 victory over Zimbabwe which was secured by their second-highest successful chase. As ever, Shakib Al Hasan will be in front and centre for them and they will also lean on the experience of Soumya Sarkar and Mahmudullah with the bat and hope to have Mustafizur Rahman back from injury during the series.

Form guide

(last five completed matches)

Bangladesh WLWLL
Australia LWLLL

In the spotlight

Twenty-year-old Shamim Hossain made a promising start to his career when he closed out the tough chase in the decider against Zimbabwe with 31 off 15 balls. That came just a couple of days after he had impressed on debut with 29 off 13 deliveries in a chase that came up short. He will do well to sustain a strike rate of 214 over a longer period, but his T20 career figure of 152 suggests he is a player who can give the middle order some power.
Mitchell Marsh will be looking to pick up where he left off in the T20I series against the West Indies where he made 219 runs in five matches and took five wickets. He has made a strong claim to be considered for the No. 3 role longer term and another successful series in Bangladesh will leave the selectors with plenty to ponder should Steven Smith be available for the World Cup.

Team news

Bangladesh are without Rahim, Tamim Iqbal and Liton Das for a variety of injury and bio-bubble reasons. They may look to bolster the spin attack compared to what they used in Zimbabwe. Left-armer Taijul Islam, who has only previously played two T20Is, and allrounder Mosaddek Hossain are options.

Bangladesh (possible): 1 Mohammad Naim, 2 Soumya Sarkar, 3 Shakib Al Hasan, 4 Mahmudullah (capt), 5 Afif Hossain, 6 Shamim Hossain, 7 Nurul Hasan (wk), 8 Nasun Ahmed, 9 Mohammed Saifuddin, 10 Taskin Ahmed, 11 Shoriful Islam

Wade revealed he would be moving into the middle order with a view to his likely role in the World Cup. Moises Henriques could be under pressure for his place after struggling in the West Indies. While Alex Carey’s T20I numbers are poor, he would give another left-handed option in the middle order. Ben McDermott is available after his ankle injury but Riley Meredith has a side injury. The uncapped Nathan Ellis, who was a travelling reserve, has been elevated to the main squad.

Australia (possible): 1 Josh Philippe, 2 Ben McDermott, 3 Mitchell Marsh, 4 Alex Carey/Moises Henriques, 5 Matthew Wade (capt & wk), 6 Ashton Turner, 7 Dan Christian, 8 Ashton Agar, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood

Pitch and conditions

Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo said he expected “a traditional Dhaka wicket” and did not think they would take a huge amount of spin. There is a chance that thunderstorms could impact the matches.

Stats and trivia

  • The last time these teams met in a T20I was at the 2016 World Cup where Zampa claimed Player of the Match. The only other time they have met in Bangladesh was in 2014.
  • Starc needs two wickets to become the first Australia men’s bowler to take 50 in T20Is. Zampa is close behind on 47.

Quotes

“Bangladesh don’t play against Australia that often, so this is a big series for us and we’re determined to do well in it.”
Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo

“All fringe players, every time they get an opportunity it’s an audition. Sometimes walking out, you know you only have a couple of chances to nail your spot down. I’m speaking from experience there. Every time you walk out, there’s pressure and you want to do your best but it’s probably more of an audition than previous tours.”
Matthew Wade on the race for World Cup spots

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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