InMobi

Aussies to raise the roof against run-shy Tigers

Bangladesh skipper asks batters to lift their output in the Super Eight as Tim David promises Australia will take on their firing bowlers

'Nagging' David working hard to convince skipper on bowling

Australia are bullish they will have the upper hand in their opening Super Eight match against a Bangladesh side whose captain has implored his batters to lift after a rocky run to begin their World Cup campaign.

The Tigers are major underdogs for Thursday's contest (10.30am Friday AEST) in Antigua where Australia wiped the floor with Namibia last week during their unbeaten run through the group stage.

The Sir Viv Richards Stadium has been one of the Caribbean's bouncier venues through the tournament so far, though a wicket block juiced up by the island's recent wet weather could lose some of its bite when it hosts its second match in as many days after South Africa take on the United States on Wednesday.

The Australians reacquainted themselves with the island's sultry weather on Tuesday as they pushed on with their training session at Coolidge, the airport-adjacent ground infamously redeveloped by Texan fraudster Allen Stanford, as rain held off following an alarming clap of thunder not far off in the distance.

More deafening were the bangs from balls landing on the grandstand's roof, showering those sitting underneath with falling debris, though Tim David laughed those were in fact the mishits.

"It's about hitting over the roof. That's the goal," said a smiling David, who finished off Scotland with a final-over six in Australia's last group-stage match. "If it hits the roof it's disappointing."  

They are the kind of blows Bangladesh are desperate to see more of from their own batting line-up.

Najmul Shanto's men admittedly played two games at the spin-friendly St Vincent ground and one on the inconsistent New York pitch in a Group D dogfight with Sri Lanka, Netherlands and Nepal to qualify as second seeds behind South Africa.

Bangladesh's only recent success in their rare meetings against the Aussies came in a five-game bilateral series in Dhaka three years ago on equally difficult batting surfaces. In nine World Cup matches (ODI and T20) they have never beaten Australia.

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Rubber-wristed left-arm quick Mustafizur Rahman (averaging just 7.71 with the ball this tournament) bowls world cricket's best cutters and leads an attack that must fire if they stand a chance of knocking Australia off course in their pursuit of a T20 trophy to add to their ODI and Test crowns.

"The advantage of playing on these surfaces is this one is a lot truer (than others)," opening batter David Warner said of Antigua. "Their lengths may have been pulled back a little bit … if you bowl those lengths that they've been bowling, they're going to sit up and they're going to be nice (to face).

"But Bangladesh are a good team, we've played against them a fair bit. We understand their game plan. They've got some good bowling obviously – Mustafizur heads the attack.

Matthew Wade trains at Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua on Tuesday // Getty

"On this surface that style of ball he bowls might not turn as much as what it has been in the past. We know what we're going to come up against, it's just about making the most of a decent wicket that we felt it was against Namibia."

Captain Shanto has won praise for marshalling Bangladesh to three wins out of four despite his team posting more than 125 just once.

The final step on their path to qualify for the second round was beating Nepal despite posting just 106, the lowest total ever defended at a men's T20 World Cup. Shanto has demanded his fellow batters deliver better returns.

"It is not possible for the bowlers to win us games every day, but they have been doing it. I hope that they continue in this way," said Shanto, who himself is averaging just 6.50 with the bat.

"But the batters have the responsibility too. It is not happening for them. Everyone is trying to find out why. It is certainly not acceptable … it is certainly worrying us.

"I don't think it is a good thing for the team to bat like this. We are not getting the start and the lower-order batsmen are not finishing it well. This mistake is happening again and again. I can say that I hope that we can reduce these mistakes in the next round."

Shanto's call to bowl paceman Tanzim Sakib four straight overs in a fiery new ball against Nepal on the spinning St Vincent surface, plus his backing of leg-spinner Rishad Hossain are among the 25-year-old captain's shrewd moves.

Bangladesh are renowned for their production line of left-arm spinners – star orthodox spinning allrounder Shakib Al Hasan, still a fixture in the side, is their greatest ever player – but their eagerness to unearth wrist-spinners has extended to firing domestic coaches who refuse to give them significant match time.

Rishad has been a beneficiary of the push and the 21-year-old has paid Bangladesh back with seven wickets at 14.57 for the tournament. Another accurate spell could trouble the Aussies, having somehow faced just one frontline leg-spinner (England's Adil Rashid) for the whole tournament.

Encouraging Rishad will have been Rashid's dismantling of Oman in Antigua where he took 4-11, finding considerable turn to show the venue is not necessarily always pace-friendly.

"I don't think anyone in our team will have played against him," David said of Rishad, "so we're going to take him on."

2024 ICC Men's T20 World Cup

Australia's squad: Mitch Marsh (c), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa

Australia's Group B fixtures

June 6: Beat Oman by 39 runs

June 9: Beat England by 36 runs

June 12: Beat Namibia by nine wickets

June 16: Beat Scotland by five wickets

Australia's Super Eight fixtures

21 June: v Bangladesh, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua, 10.30am AEST

23 June: v Afghanistan, Arnos Vale Ground, St Vincent, 10.30am AEST

25 June: v India, Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, St Lucia, 12.30am AEST

Semi-finals to follow if Australia qualify

For the full list of fixtures click here. All matches live and exclusive on Prime Video. Sign up here for a 30-day free trial