It’s Australia’s final preparation for the T20 World Cup, as they head to Dhaka for a five game T20 series against Bangladesh. Australia have lost their last four T20 series, and this looms as an important series on spinning pitches, for Australia to figure out their side for the T20 World Cup in the Middle East. Can the Australians find a way to combat spin? Or will Bangladesh hand the Aussies a fifth straight T20 series loss?
Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Tuesday August 3rd, 10:00pm AEST
Bangladesh Squad: Mahmudullah (c), Shakib Al Hasan, Nurul Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, Taijul Islam, Mohammad Naim, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mustafizur Rahman, Afif Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Mohammad Mithun, Mosaddek Hossain, Soumya Sarkar, Shamim Hossain, Nasum Ahmed, Mahedi Hasan
Australia Squad: Ashton Agar, Wes Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Dan Christian, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Marsh, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.
Australia head to Bangladesh on the back of their fourth consecutive T20 series loss, a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the West Indies. Bangladesh come into the series having won six of their last eight T20I matches at home, and will look to expose Australia’s inability to play spin in white ball cricket.
It’s been well documented that the Aussies are without Aaron Finch, Steve Smith, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Pat Cummins, Kane Richardson, Jhye Richardson and Daniel Sams for this tour, however Bangladesh will be missing some key players too. Wicketkeeper batsman Liton Das has returned home for personal reasons, meaning he can’t rejoin the squad due to covid protocols. Experienced Mushfiqur Rahim will also miss due to personal reasons, while opener Tamim Iqbal is out with a knee injury.
That’s three crucial pillars of Bangladesh’s batting lineup out for the series, so we could see a low scoring series dominated by the bowlers, much like Australia’s recent ODI series against the West Indies. Adam Zampa was excellent during the ODI series against the Windies and Ashton Agar was impressive upon return from injury in the final game. The spin duo who are the 7th and 8th ranked bowlers on the ICC T20I rankings, hold the key to Australia’s hopes not only in this series, but their hopes of going far in the T20 World Cup.
The ODI series in Barbados should serve as good prep for Australia given what the pitches will play like in Dhaka, which could be a key factor early in the series. With Das (Bangladesh’s leading scorer in their last home series), Rahim and Iqbal, Bangladesh will struggle with the bat. The number two ranked T20I all rounder, Shakib Al-Hassan is coming into the series carrying a groin injury, and won’t be at 100%. With the form of Australia’s bowling attack, in particular Starc and Zampa, the bowlers will lead Australia to victory in the series opener.
Soumya Sarkar was Bangladesh’s leading run scorer in their recently concluded 2-1 series win away from home against Zimbabwe. Sarkar scored 126 runs at an average of 42 with two half centuries in three matches. Sarkar was the second highest run scorer for Bangladesh in their last home series, scoring 82 runs in two matches without being dismissed. With some of Bangladesh’s stars with the bat out, this series will provide Sarkar with a huge opportunity to shine against a big opponent in the lead up to the T20 World Cup.
Soumya Sarka, Bangladesh Top run scorer (Odds coming soon)
Hard to go past the form of Mitch Marsh after his remarkable T20 series against the West Indies. Marsh was vaulted into the role of number three with Steve Smith's absence, and thrived smashing 219 runs at an average of 42, with a strike rate of 150. With scores of 50, 51, 75 and 30, Australia may have accidentally stumbled across a number three that provides exactly what they need in T20 cricket, especially with Finch and Warner’s absence. Marsh has drastically improved his craft against spin, as he handled the West Indies spinners with ease, unlike his teammates. Marsh has shown excellent consistency in his T20 game in the BBL in the last two years, and that form has begun to flourish on the big stage. Expect Marsh to continue his golden run of form.
Mitch Marsh, Australia Top run scorer (Odds coming soon)
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