Inspiring Bangladesh face huge step-up in challenge against Australia
Mashrafe Mortaza's team has been excellent so far, but they need to do all the things they have done right so far, and more, when they face five-time champions Australia on Thursday, 20 June.
Australia are doing what they do best at World Cups: dominate. An injury to Marcus Stoinis hasn't set them back. And if their assistant coach Brad Haddin is to be believed, we haven't seen the best of them yet. Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins are proving to be a nightmare to face. Aaron Finch and David Warner have been providing solid starts. And Steve Smith has been a rock in the middle order. At present, it's difficult to see how Australia don't make the final four.
Bangladesh, meanwhile, are leaving behind their own trail in this tournament. They have lost as many as they have won, but they have been clinical in the two games where they ended up on the right side of the result, and absolutely pushed New Zealand to the brink before coming up short. After bossing West Indies in a chase of 322 on Monday, they need to repeat all the things they did right in that game, and more, against a top-flight opposition in Australia. Mashrafe Mortaza's men have been excellent so far, but can they live up to the challenge of competing against a five-time champion?
Mitchell Starc (Australia): Among bowlers to have taken 20 or more wickets in World Cups, Starc's average of 13.51 and strike-rate of 18.8 are the best ever. Starc takes just over two-and-a-half wickets a game and concedes runs at 4.30 an over. To put things in perspective, if teams faced only Starc when they batted, they would manage about 135 runs per innings before being bowled out. Those are staggering numbers.
Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh): Shakib is really showing why he is the world's top-ranked all-rounder in ODIs. With five wickets in four matches, and two centuries and two fifties in four innings, Shakib has made it simply impossible to look past him anymore. In his current form, Shakib against Starc and Cummins could be a one-on-one battle made in cricketing heaven.
There could be some scattered showers in Nottingham on Thursday, but they will be accompanied by a gentle breeze, which could help in keeping interruptions to a minimum. Chances of rain gradually go down as the day progresses. As for the underfoot conditions, there will be assistance for fast bowlers early on, but if the games that have taken place so far are any indication, they could significantly ease out for batting later on.
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.
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.