A confident-looking Bangladesh will go to their sixth match in the World Cup against Australia at Trent Bridge today hoping to give their campaign a fresh impetus after a scintillating seven-wicket win over West Indies.
A win in this game will help Bangladesh make a giant leap stride towards the semi-finals, the primary goal that the side set for them before embarking on United Kingdom.
Australia are arguably one of the strongest teams in the tournament and are favourites to make it to the last four alongside India, England and New Zealand.
Bangladesh are now the undisputed leaders of the chasing pack, who hope to sneak into the top group at the expense of one of these giants.
A Bangladesh win over Australia might change the whole equation of the World Cup, which is so far going in a very predictable way.
However, it may not be very easy for Bangladesh to shock the defending champions like the way they hammered a one-dimensional West Indies at Taunton.
Australia are the most unfamiliar opponents for Bangladesh in the tournament, having played lesser number of matches against the Tigers than any other major teams in the last four years.
The two teams played a complete one-day international last time was in 2011 when Bangladesh were still not regarded as a genuine cricket force.
Since then they faced twice, respectively in 2015 World Cup and 2017 ICC Champions Trophy and on both occasions the matches were abandoned due to rain.
One point from Australia in rain-ruined game helped Bangladesh make it to the quarter-finals in the last World Cup and semi-final of the Champions Trophy, which remained as the highlights of Bangladesh’s brief cricket history.
Rain is forecast at some point during today’s match but Bangladesh will not be completely happy to go away with one point this time as they require more than a point to give them a strong chance to qualify for the knock out stage.
‘I think we are looking for both points. If it is not possible, yes, we will take a point,’ said Bangladesh captain Mashrafee bin Murtaza.
Australia have so far won four matches out of their five to trail hosts England at the top of the table only by net run rate with their lone defeat coming against tournament co-favourites India.
Bangladesh could be optimistic about their chance despite Australia’s imperious run as the defending champions were yet to find their best in the tournament.
They narrowly escaped against West Indies and could have lost against Pakistan and Sri Lanka if the opponents did not collapse under pressure.
‘Although we’re getting the 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. We’re aware of the areas to keep improving,’ admitted Australian batsman Alex Carey.
Bangladesh were brave in each game they played so far in the tournament, unlike the other underdogs, who sometimes gave the opposition a free ride.
The one thing that, however, might worry Bangladesh was their bowling which was yet to challenge the opposition.
Once Bangladesh can do this the batsmen seems ready to take the game against any opposition, be it Australia or anyone else.
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