‘Oz look to negate Shakib threat’ in stiff test for toughened Tigers - GulfToday

‘Oz look to negate Shakib threat’ in stiff test for toughened Tigers

Cricket Australia

Australia’s captain Aaron Finch (left) and team-mate Glenn Maxwell arrive to take part in net practice on Wednesday. Agence France-Presse

Buoyed by their emphatic win over West Indies, Bangladesh will be brimming with confidence when they face a stiff test against Australia in their crucial World Cup fixture at Trent Bridge on Thursday.

On Monday, 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.

The defending champions plan to target Bangladesh dangerman Shakib Al Hasan, says Australia wicketkeeper Alex Carey.

Shakib’s brilliant century helped the Tigers complete the second-highest World Cup chase in a seven-wicket win over the West Indies in Taunton on Monday.

The 32-year-old allrounder, who is the tournament’s leading run-scorer with 384 runs, also hit a century against England earlier in the tournament and has been among the wickets.

When Bangladesh beat Australia in a 2005 one-day international in Cardiff, it was widely regarded as one of the biggest upsets in cricket history.

But they are now an established force and, having beaten both South Africa and the West Indies already at this tournament, they are pushing for a semi-final berth.

“We’ve obviously put our time into Shakib and all the players at the top of the order as well as their bowling,” Carey said on Wednesday.

“He’s in probably career-best form with the white ball. So we sort of know the areas and line and length we want to bowl to him and I guess out there we’ll assess the conditions as well.

“We leave that up to the bowlers and the captain to do that, but he’s one guy we want to get out early.”

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.

Mashrafe Mortaza’s men 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.

Australia have not been at the top of their game in the ongoing World Cup so far. They have suffered batting collapses and have been put under pressure. Despite that, they have been able to register four victories and are currently placed at the second spot in the points table.

Pacers Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins are proving to be a nightmare to face for the opposition batters, barring India who took them for plenty at the Kennington Oval.

Skipper Aaron Finch and David Warner are providing them with solid starts and laying the platform for the likes of Steve Smith, who has been a rock in the middle order.

However, despite a defeat by India, Australia appear to be well on course for a semi-final berth, with four wins from their five matches in the 10-team round-robin phase so far.

But wicketkeeper-batsman Carey said there was still room for improvement from the defending champions.

“We obviously like to take wickets up front, there have been times we probably would have liked to finish off innings with the bat,” he said.

“Although we’re getting results, we’re still striving hard to try to find that perfect game and put a full 50 or 100 overs together. But the guys are working really hard and we’re aware of the areas to keep improving.”

Thus, it would require a below par performance from the defending champions to lose against Bangladesh, a team against which they have tasted defeat only once in the 22 ODIs they have played against each other.

All-rounder Marcus Stoinis could return at Trent Bridge on Thursday after missing Australia’s past two matches with a side strain.

Agencies

Squads:

Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Abu Jayed, Liton Das (wk), Mahmudullah, Mehidy Hasan, Mohammad Mithun (wk), Mohammad Saifuddin, Mosaddek Hossain, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Shakib Al Hasan, Soumya Sarkar, Tamim Iqbal

Australia: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Alex Carey (wk), Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Pat Cummins, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa, Nathan Lyon