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Wisden India logo Wisden India 05-06-2017 Karthik Lakshmanan
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Group A: Australia v Bangladesh

Date: June 5 (Monday)

Venue: The Oval, London

HEAD-TO-HEAD

20 Matches; Australia 18; Bangladesh 1; No Result 1

THE FORM

The nature of the tournament is such that after just one game in for both sides, it’s a virtual knockout for both Australia and Bangladesh. Bangladesh come into this game after missing out on a decent opportunity to cause an upset in their first game against England. Australia, in their captain’s own words, ‘got away’ as rain in Birmingham gave them a lucky escape against New Zealand.

Australia looked rusty in their opening game but if Steven Smith’s men think Bangladesh will be the easy opponents to get some momentum going, they may be in for a rude surprise. Australia have lost only one ODI to Bangladesh in 20 matches between the sides, but their last completed game was way back in 2011. Bangladesh is no longer the same side, as many opponents are finding out these days.

It means Australia will have to improve upon their last outing. They bowled New Zealand out for 291 in 45 overs, but Smith was critical of his bowlers. Josh Hazlewood was excellent and picked up a six-for, but Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and John Hastings were far from effective.

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In the nine overs that Australia batted, they lost David Warner, Aaron Finch and Moises Henriques before rain bailed them out.

Interestingly, Bangladesh too did pretty well to post 305 against England but it was that aspect of the game that let them down. They were around 30 runs short on a flat Oval track, which meant England coasted to an easy win.

THE CONDITIONS

The atmosphere in London isn’t exactly ideal after the latest terrorist attack in the city, but inside The Oval the show is set to go on. Saturday’s game between South Africa and Sri Lanka saw slightly fewer runs than in recent times at the venue as it was played on a relaid track.

Australia and Bangladesh will play on the same pitch, which means it could assist some spin. It means Bangladesh could once again switch to playing five bowlers instead of the extra batsman they opted for in the first game, while Australia too could give Adam Zampa a go.

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THE MATCH-UP

MITCHELL STARC v TAMIM IQBAL

Tamim Iqbal has scored five centuries in ODIs over the last two years – one more than he did in his first eight years. That in itself tells an entire story about his dream run. The left-handed opener has been Bangladesh’s stalwart and it’s not just coincidence that his form has been concurrent with Bangladesh’s rise. Unlike in the past, Tamim has begun converting starts and has now progressed from promising hitter to consistent batsman. It came to the fore in Bangladesh’s first game against England when he made 128 – his second consecutive century in England this tour.

Converting starts, though, might not be easy against Australia for they have terrific pacers led by Starc. Coming after an injury layoff, Starc wasn’t at his best and went wicketless against New Zealand. But it takes only a yorker or two to turn that around. Their duel at the top could well play a big part in the outcome of the game.

THE WILDCARDS

BANGLADESH: Soumya Sarkar

Sarkar is where Tamim was a few years ago – getting starts, showing promise, but not doing much else. In 27 ODI innings, he has 15 scores in excess of 20 but only one century and six fifties. He did exactly that against England when he coasted to 28 before softly slashing one to the deep. Sarkar could well learn a thing or two from his opening partner – can he do that by Monday?

AUSTRALIA: Pat Cummins

Raw pace – that’s what Cummins is. And that’s something that Bangladesh have historically not enjoyed. Cummins had a forgettable outing against New Zealand, conceding 67 runs for one wicket in nine overs, but that’s not due to lack of form. He made a successful comeback to the Test team in the India tour and followed it up with a good Indian Premier League season. Express pace can be a boon or a bane, especially on flat pitches. Which Cummins will turn up against Bangladesh?

WATCH OUT FOR…

Shakib Al Hasan has had a quiet build up to the Champions Trophy, with a high score of 19 since landing in Ireland before the tournament. In the five matches since then, Shakib has got only three wickets with the pitches not exactly suiting his style of bowling. But he isn’t the world’s top ranked all-rounder across all formats for nothing.

TEAMS

Australia: Steven Smith (capt), David Warner, Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, John Hastings, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), Adam Zampa.

Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Imrul Kayes, Mahmudullah, Mehedi Hasan Miraj, Mosaddek Hossain, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Sanzamul Islam, Sabbir Rahman, Shafiul Islam, Shakib Al Hasan, Soumya Sarkar, Tamim Iqbal, Taskin Ahmed.

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