BIRMINGHAM: Having been frustrated by the rain in their opening match against New Zealand, the Australian team is looking to go all guns blazing against a revamped Bangladesh side. The quest for a place in the semi-finals begins now for both the teams as they look to register their first victory in this year’s edition of the Champions Trophy. After having secured a point, Australia sit much more comfortable in the standings compared to the Bengali Tigers who lost their first match against hosts England.
Young Australian captain, Steve Smith admitted in the pre-match press conference on Sunday that the team was far from their best in their opening match. The 28-year old from Sydney also said that his team has absolutely no margin for error as the unit looks to kick start their Champions Trophy campaign against Bangladesh today.
Australia narrowly escaped at what seemed like a defeat at the hands of New Zealand as they were struggling at 53-3 off nine overs when the players left the field for the final time due to the bad weather in Birmingham.
Smith went onto emphasize on the fact that his team had to play well in order to advance further in the competition and treat every game like a final. “It’s obviously not ideal for both sides to have a washout. So for us now it’s just about making sure that we’re playing each game like a final and winning the next two,” Smith said. “It’s a pretty quick tournament. So you can’t really afford a washout or a loss.”
Even though the Australians are expected to cross the line against Bangladesh, history suggests that Steve Smith and Co. have to be careful and not take things for granted.
Way back in 2005, the Australians were on the receiving end as Bangladesh beat them by 5 wickets in an ODI in Cardiff, causing one of the greatest upsets of recent times.
In order to avoid another humiliation, the Australian quicks need to be on-song today and back their young captain. Josh Hazelwood looked the most threatening of the attack in their opening match, bagging six scalps at an impressive economy rate. The other two, in the shape of Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc, were mediocre to say the least; picking just two wickets between them.
Bangladesh looked very impressive with the bat in their opening match against England but their inability to defend a challenging score of 305 raised a lot of questions as to whether or not their bowling attack is up to the mark. Apart from ace pacer Mustafizur Rehman, all the bowlers looked below par, leaving Captain Mashrafe Mortaza fairly concerned.
“I think in the middle patches of the match, we couldn’t get any wickets, that’s also a [key] point,” he said.
Regarding their batting performance, the 33 year-old said that even though he was impressed by the batsmen especially opener Tamim Iqbal, a score of 330-340 is a norm. “The batters can respond themselves a little bit better,” he said.
“With eight batters, we are in a great position to score 330, 340. But we lost too many wickets in the late order.”
The fans from both the sides are hoping for a dominating display from their respective teams with the aim of registering crucial points that would push their teams higher up in the group standings.