It is an all-subcontinent affair at Bristol in the 2019 ICC World Cup as Bangladesh lock horns with Sri Lanka.
Bangladesh started their World Cup campaign with a stunning win over South Africa before being handed defeats in their subsequent outings against New Zealand and hosts England.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, were thrashed by New Zealand at the start before they bounced back with a win against Afghanistan. Their most recent clash against Pakistan was abandoned due to rain.
Can Bangladesh continue their impressive showings in the World Cup or will Sri Lanka rein supreme at Bristol? Find out by following the ball-ball-ball commentary from the clash below.
Two games in the ongoing tournament including Pakistan’s most recent clash against Sri Lanka have already been wiped out due to poor weather and the threat for the same exists at Taunton on Wednesday.
There is a 60 per cent chance of rain on matchday according to the weather forecast with the prospect of a stop-start affair a real possibility.
AUSSIES AIM TO BOUNCE BACK FROM INDIA LOSS
Australia came into the World Cup on the back of an eight-game winning run in ODIs and they started the same tournament in similar vein with victories against Afghanistan and West Indies.
However, their 10-match winning streak was brought to a halt recently by India with the Aussies falling to a 36-run defeat while attempting to chase a mammoth 353. Very rarely do they lose in the World Cup with four of the last five editions of the tournament going their way.
A loss against fellow contenders India will not rankle Aaron Finch’s men too much but they will be desperate to ensure that it remains a one-off and does not lead to further defeats.
PAKISTAN AIM TO KEEP MOMENTUM GOING FROM ENGLAND WIN
Pakistan were being written off by many already after their disastrous start to the World Cup but things have changed quickly in that regard. After a seven-wicket thrashing to Windies where they were bowled out for just 105, the Men in Green bounced back in style by stunning tournament favourites England.
That win over the hosts will have given Pakistan plenty of confidence and they would have ideally liked to keep that winning momentum going against Sri Lanka. However, rain saw that game abandoned without a ball being bowled and denied Pakistan a chance to shine against a team they had beaten in all previous World Cup meetings.
Sarfraz Ahmed and his men will now be hoping that the washed-out clash does not derail their momentum, for they will need to repeat their exploits against England if they are to give the Aussies a run for their money.
ALL EYES ON PAKISTAN’S MIDDLE-ORDER COMBINATION
While their pace bowling woes seem to have subsided for now with Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz coming good, Pakistan still have problems aplenty when it comes to their middle-order.
They went with Haris Sohail and all-rounder Imad Wasim for their campaign opener against Windies before replacing them with Asif Ali and veteran Shoaib Malik for the England clash. Malik has been out of form in recent months and has an abysmal record in England but his experience could be a handy asset against Australia.
Asif Ali failed to fire in the win over England but the right-hander has the ability to provide the finishing flourish in the death overs for Pakistan. As such, it could be hard for Sohail and Imad Wasim to work their way back into the playing XI for now.
AUSTRALIA HAVE UPPER HAND OVER PAKISTAN IN RECENT TIMES
Pakistan’s most recent showings against the Aussies is not too encouraging with the Men in Green tasting 14 defeats in the last 15 ODI meetings between the two sides. The most recent fixture between the two was a five-match ODI series in the UAE held in March where Australia emphatically beat Pakistan 5-0.
The only saving grace for Pakistan in that series rout was the face that they had rested several senior players including skipper Sarfraz and star batsman Babar Azam.
Australia: David Warner, Aaron Finch (c), Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey (wk), Glenn Maxwell, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc.
Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (c and wk), Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir.
Wicketkeeper batsman Mohammad Shahzad has sparked a fresh controversy by claiming that he was incorrectly ruled out of the 2019 ICC World Cup due to a knee injury.
The 32-year-old was ruled out for the remainder of the ongoing tournament after playing just two games for Afghanistan before being replaced by young Ikram Ali Khil. However, the opening batsman has now accused the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) of unfairly sending him back home from the World Cup.
“I went to a doctor in London and he drained my knee of some fluids, gave me a pill and said that I could play after resting for two-three days,” Shahzad told the local Afghanistan media on his return to Kabul.
“I had a practice session, bowled, batted, and had a keeping session, had lunch with my team-mates, and then sat down in the team bus (to return to the hotel) only to see the ICC press release on my phone saying I am out of the World Cup.
“That was the moment when I found out that I was unfit. I don’t know what is the problem. If they have a problem, they should let me know. If they don’t want me to play, I will quit cricket.”
The wicketkeeper batsman had retired hurt due to a knee injury in the warm up game against Pakistan but had featured in Afghanistan’s opening two matches in the World Cup before being ruled out of the tournament.
Shahzad has now threatened to quit international cricket altogether in the wake of his World Cup exit.
“I don’t see myself playing anymore. It’s a dream to play the World Cup. I was removed from the 2015 World Cup and now this one as well. I am going to consult with friends and family. My heart isn’t in cricket anymore,” he said.
The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) have responded to Shahzad’s sensational tirade and have insisted that the wicketkeeper was ruled out for fitness reasons.
“It’s absolutely wrong to say that he was unfairly dropped,” ACB chief executive Asadullah Khan was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
“We have given a medical report to the ICC to prove that he is unfit, and after thorough deliberation they allowed us to replace him. He is our main batsman, who can make a big difference with the bat, and it was a really difficult decision to drop one of our key players.”
“Now that we are full members, our priority will be on fitness, in international and domestic cricket. We can’t carry unfit players. We understand Shahzad was not fully fit when he still went on to play two games and this is not acceptable anymore.”