Australia will need to be on top of their game when they take on a dangerous and in-form Bangladesh in the 2019 World Cup in Nottingham on Thursday.
Bangladesh sent out a major warning to all teams in the tournament as they chased down 322 against the West Indies with nearly 10 overs to spare.
The Tigers have already defeated South Africa and ran New Zealand close before losing.
Australia know the enormity of the task at hand. And the one name on everyone’s mind is Shakib Al Hasan.
THE SHAKIB FACTOR
Shakib has had a sensational World Cup so far, smashing two centuries and as many fifties. He has also picked up five wickets at an economy of less than six. He is easily the MVP of the tournament so far.
The balance he provides at No3 plus the control his left-arm spin gives to skipper Mashrafe Mortaza make him the most crucial member of the side.
Australia wicketkeeper Alex Carey admitted his team must find ways to keep Shakib quiet across 100 overs on Thursday.
“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.”
The defending champions are in a great space at the moment. They have four wins out of five and the only defeat to India could have gone either way in a high-scoring match.
The batting line-up is in great nick and the bowlers – led by Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc – are as threatening as any in the tournament.
The only aspect of their game Australia will be thinking about is the inclusion of a spinner. They omitted both Adam Zampa and Nathan Lyon from the playing XI that beat Sri Lanka in the previous match, but they have to make a frontline spinner a regular part of their campaign soon.
Also, all-rounder Marcus Stoinis could return after missing Australia’s last two matches with a side strain.
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Liton Das, Mahmudullah, Mosaddek Hossain, Mehidy Hasan, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mashrafe Mortaza (c), Mustafizur Rahman
Australia: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon
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