Monday, April 15, 2024

Match Preview – Bangladesh vs Australia, Australia in Bangladesh 2021, 5th T20I

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Australia could consider playing three frontline spinners to try and close the margin to 3-2

Big Picture

It’s been a weird T20 series: 120 feels like a batting side has reached the stars, Australia have barely been able to lay a bat on the brilliant Mustafizur Rahman, a debutant has taken a hat-trick and there’s been a 30-run over with five sixes amid a lot of prodding and poking.

Bangladesh have achieved what they set out to do – beat Australia – and the confidence gained from winning can never be discounted, but the true value of these performances may not be known until the T20 World Cup. Before then they face New Zealand at home and it will be very interesting to see the types of surfaces produced.

Whether pitches were 100 is nearly defendable – Bangladesh were probably one breakthrough away from going 4-0 up – is good T20 is a decent debate, although the challenges of preparing surfaces for this series in terms of the weather and tight Covid protocols should be acknowledged. No one wants roads all the time, and the occasional low-scoring scrap is enjoyable, but when cutters are jumping off a length and batters have little confidence they can play their strokes it’s perhaps tilted a little too far the other way.

For Australia this will likely be their last T20 before they select their World Cup squad. Mitchell Marsh will emerge as one of the standout performers, the bowling attack has held up very well and Dan Christian‘s onslaught in the fourth match was a statement. But it’s difficult to say they will head home having really answered the pre-tour questions. Justin Langer will hope to have the absent players back – a lot rests on their shoulders.

Form guide

(last five completed matches)
Bangladesh LWWWL
Australia WLLLWL

In the spotlight

This has been a tough series for batters to prosper, but Soumya Sarkar has had a particularly difficult time at the top of the order with scores of 2, 0, 2 and 8. Josh Hazlewood has caused him problems and taken his wicket twice. He had scored three half-centuries in the previous two series against New Zealand and Zimbabwe but may have now given the selectors something to ponder.

Through these twin tours it has felt that Matthew Wade is locked in to be Australia’s keeper at the World Cup. He started this series in the middle order – based on his likely position in that tournament – then went back to the top with returns of 13, 4, 1 and 2. If you include the matches in West Indies his highest score is 33 in nine T20 innings and his average now sits under 20. There will be mitigation given for the conditions in Bangladesh, but coupled with the debate over where the keeper bats it remains one of Australia’s unanswered questions.

Team news

Bangladesh have been unchanged throughout the series. Will they make it five games in row or now that the whitewash is off the table have a look a few other players?

Bangladesh (possible) 1 Mohammad Naim, 2 Soumya Sarkar, 3 Shakib Al Hasan, 4 Mahedi Hasan, 5 Mahmudullah (capt), 6 Afif Hossain, 7 Shamim Hossain, 8 Nurul Hasan (wk), 9 Nasum Ahmed, 10 Mushtifzur Rahman, 11 Shoriful Islam

Australia have tried various combinations throughout the series. The only players not to get a game are quicks Jason Behrendorff and Wes Agar, who don’t appear in contention for the World Cup, and the injured Riley Meredith. Hazlewood has played the first four games so there is a chance he will be rested. It could also be an opportunity for Australia to try three frontline spinners.

Australia (possible) 1 Matthew Wade (capt & wk), 2 Ben McDermott, 3 Mitchell Marsh, 4 Moises Henriques, 5 Alex Carey, 6 Ashton Turner, 7 Dan Christian, 8 Ashton Agar, 9 Andrew Tye, 10 Mitchell Swepson, 11 Josh Hazlewood/Mitchell Starc

Pitch and conditions

“They don’t compare to anything I’ve faced in my career. These are as difficult conditions as I’ve seen for T20 cricket – 120 is like 190,” Christian said after the fourth game. It would be a surprise if anything changed for the last match.

Stats and trivia

  • With a scoring rate of 5.86, this is the slowest T20I series of at least three matches in history
  • Christian’s 39 off 15 balls was the second-fastest 30+ score by an Australia batter in T20Is
  • No team has gone unchanged through a T20 series of more than three matches
  • Quotes

    “As a batting unit I think we need to be a bit more cautious and a bit more sensible.”
    Mahmudullah after the defeat in the fourth match

    “I might be a little bit biased here, but certainly something that I think could work for us as well. Fingers crossed that might eventuate but we’ll have to wait and see.”
    Mitchell Swepson on the prospect of Australia playing three frontline spinners

    Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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