Quicks Josh Hazlewood, James Pattinson and Michael Neser will get a chance to audition for a late World Cup call-up when Australia A begin their 50-over tour of England tomorrow.
Following Bangladesh’s surprising, but not shocking 21-run victory over South Africa, the Tigers now look to their next challenge on Wednesday night (10.30pm AEST) against an underrated New Zealand.
New Zealand showed no mercy to the weakest side in the World Cup, bowling out Sri Lanka for a paltry 136 and chasing the target in 16 overs.
The last time they met at the World Cup was at Hamilton in March 2015. After knocking out the Poms at Adelaide, Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza was suspended for slow over rate and Shakib Al Hasan had led in his absence.
Sent in to bat on a turning pitch, Soumya Sarkar scored his maiden ODI fifty and Mahmudullah scored an impressive 128 as Bangladesh posted a competitive total of 288-7.
A Martin Guptill ton put New Zealand on track throughout the run chase but his wicket left the game in the balance for the last 15 overs before Daniel Vettori and Tim Southee saw the Blackcaps home in a nervy three wicket win.
World Cup head to head – New Zealand 4, Bangladesh 0.
The Tigers’ confidence will have shot up a lot following their win against South Africa, especially considering the Proteas were always having to fight back throughout the whole 100 overs. In a collective performance in posting 330, Mushfiqur Rahim and no.1 ODI all rounder Shakib Al Hasan received the plaudits for their half centuries and 142-run partnership for the third wicket.
But one must not forget Soumya Sarkar’s contribution. He provided Bangladesh with a fast start, allowing Shakib and Mushfiqur to settle in and not worry about the run rate when he was dismissed. He will be key to Bangladesh getting a good start again, but his knocks would be even more handy if he batted for longer periods of time.
Once again, Bangladesh will be relying on Mustafizur Rahman to break partnerships in the middle overs and the death overs. He looked the Mustafiz of old, clocking high 130s to low 140s consistently and his unplayable off cutters.
Although he was a tad bit expensive, he provided Bangladesh with the breakthroughs they needed against the Saffas. Mohammad Saifuddin will also play a key role. Like Mustafizur, he was a bit off colour although he only just passed a fitness Test following back problems.
He will play a key role as Mashrafe Mortaza will be expecting breakthroughs whenever he hands him the ball on Wednesday.
New Zealand have three quality batsmen in their top 4. All of them are match winners in their own right and can cause serious damage. But personally, I’d like to see the back of Martin Guptill ASAP.
The damage he can do if he bats for more than 15 overs is scary. Attack the stumps as his technique exposes him to get out lbw to the new ball.
Kane Williamson is just a freakish player where you can only hope of minimising his impact as he rarely makes mistakes.
Ross Taylor is another dangerous player. But like many world-class players, he’s a nervous starter so the best chance of getting him back to the sheds early is to create dot ball pressure – something Bangladesh did really well against South Africa.
You can’t go past the two main swing kings Tim Southee and Trent Boult when talking about New Zealand’s key bowlers. Even though Southee didn’t play against Sri Lanka due to an injury, he’s set to play at the Oval.
Countering the swing kings will be a tough job if there’s a little bit of movement as India found out in their warm up game at the Oval. Doesn’t get much easier when Lockie Ferguson 145 km thunderbolts is first change.
Just like against South Africa, Bangladesh start as underdogs in this encounter. But they love playing as underdogs and will be looking to put up another good performance.
They have a 12th man in the Bengali diaspora in London who will be cheering every Bangladesh run, wicket, run saved, literally everything. Bring on the Blackcaps I say.