Australia snapped a four game losing streak in T20I’s with a three wicket win in game four against Bangladesh. Bangladesh have had the Aussies measure all series long, and will be looking to finish the series strong. Can Australia salvage something from this series? Or will it be back to back 4-1 series losses for the Aussies?
Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Monday August 9th, 10:00pm AEST
Dan Christian’s promotion to number three raised eyebrows, but it was the catalyst to Australia sneaking over the line in a shaky chase. Mitch Swepson’s 3/12 restricted Bangladesh to 9/104, before Christian hit five sixes off Shakib Al Hasan in the fourth over, which broke the chase wide open. Christian top scored with 39 off 15, with Ashton Agar’s 27 off 27 closing the game after the Australian middle order collapsed, losing 5-18 to keep Bangladesh in the game.
With Shakib’s 0/50 the outlier in the match, game four was once again dominated by the bowlers, with eleven of the twelve bowlers who bowled at least an over, all conceding 6 an over or less.
Bangladesh’s bowlers have been outstanding all series long with Mustafizur Rahman (7 wickets at an average of 8, economy of 3.5), Shoriful Islam (7 wickets at 11, economy of 6.3) and Nasum Ahmed (6 wickets at 14, economy of 5.2) completely outclassing the Australian batting unit.
Despite the loss, Bangladesh will know that it took one freakish over that cost them the game. 18 of their 19 overs with the ball were outstanding in attempting to defend a small target, only conceding 75 runs from 18 overs, outside of Shakib’s nightmare in the fourth over.
Although it was a much needed win from Australia, they didn’t show anything with the bat that would cause any concerns for Bangladesh. Outside of Mitch Marsh, no Australian player that has batted more than twice in the series, is averaging above 12.
Despite all four games being low scoring thrillers, Australia’s deficiencies with the bat are too hard to ignore in this series. In game one, six of Australia’s top seven batsmen scored below thirteen. In game two, five of Australia’s top seven scored below twelve. In game three, three of the top six only scored single figures, and in game four, six of the top seven scored below eleven. The Australian’s inability to give their bowlers anything to work with has been the story of the series, and that will continue in the series finale, as Bangladesh will seal a 4-1 series victory.
Mustafizur Rahman has been the main man in an outstanding Bangladeshi bowling attack throughout this series. Mustafizur has been unplayable in this series with 7 wickets (second most this series) at an average of 8.1 (the best of any player this series that’s played two or more games), with an economy rate of 3.56 (the best this series). His ability to build press and force the Australians into taking unwanted risks has been a highlight in a format that is so heavily favoured towards batsmen. Mustafizur has had the Aussies number all series long, and he’ll be looking to finish strong after Bangladesh’s first loss of the series.
He has been criminally underrated his entire career, despite being one of the best bowlers on the planet in all three formats, and Josh Hazlewood continues to star, even in the T20 arena. Hazlewood is the leading wicket taker this series with 8 wickets at an average of 10.6, with an economy of 5.42. Even on spin friendly pitches, Hazlewood finds a way to impact games. Hazlewood was excellent in the recent ODI series against the West Indies with figures of 3/22 & 2/18 and he has carried that form into this series with hauls of 3/24, 1/21, 2/16 and 2/24. His consistency has been a feature of his career and Hazlewood rarely lets his country down. Hazlewood will cap off the series with another excellent performance.
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