Kangaroos Vs Tigers was an unpredictable, flip coin confrontation of the 2019 World Cup. The fifth match at Nottingham had a lot at stake for the underdogs. Bangladesh was hoping to make it to the semi-finals whereas Australia was looking to establish its dominance by climbing back on top of the points table.
The two teams have collided three times in the tournament and it has been a one-sided confrontation so far. In 1999 Australia made a comeback in the world cup after beating Bangladesh, 2007 saw the Aussies derail the Tigers once again after Bangladesh had successfully defeated another cricket giant, India. The third match between the two had to be called off due to cyclone Marcia.
This match was considered as a shot at redemption for Bangladesh as they had the chance to defeat Australia and make it to the semi-finals. Australia walked into the match after defeating Sri Lanka by 87 runs in their previous encounter whereas Bangladesh was riding the momentum of a massive victory against West Indies. Bangladesh defeated West Indies by seven wickets as they chased 321 runs in just 41.3 overs. This served to make their confrontation with Australia an exciting one. If Bangladesh ever had the chance to beat them, it was now.
Australia gained the initial advantage by winning the toss. Australian captain Aaron Finch elected to bat first given the batting pitch. David Warner and Aaron Finch started the innings off against Bangladesh and it turned out to be an inning to remember.
Australia picked up 86 runs in the first fifteen overs with David Warner scoring an early 50 off 55 balls.
The team’s score had reached 100 by the 17th over without any loss. Captain Aaron Finch scored 52 by the end of the 20th over and become the highest scoring batsmen of the World Cup 2019.
Australia had a lot to celebrate after a brilliant start but the celebrations were cut short as Finch got caught off guard by Soumya Sarkar at 53. This was to be Bangladesh’s sole wicket for a while.
Usman Khawaja who came next in line also maintained quite a partnership with David Warner who beat Captain Aaron Finch to become the highest scoring batsmen of the 2019 World Cup with his 6th ODI 150. Usman Khawaja complimented the innings with his first World Cup 50.
The duo of Soumya and Rubel brought a much needed breakthrough for the Tigers as they caught Warner. David returned to the pavilion with the score of 166 in a very similar fashion to Finch. Australia now stood at 313/2.
Glenn Maxwell was pushed up the batting order to maximize the score in the last five overs. The strategy was brilliant but the plan didn’t come to fruition.
Soumya Sarkar sent Maxwell back to the pavilion at the score of 32 as Glenn decided to run even as Khwaja said no from the other end. This was enough opening for Rubel who didn’t miss with his direct hit.
The magic of Soumya didn’t stop there as next in line was Usman Khawaja. Caught by Mushfiqur, Khawaja returned to the pavilion with 89 runs.
The wickets didn’t make much of a difference to the Australian team who were now comfortably at a big score of 353/4. Former Captain Steve Smith came in but fell victim to Mustafizur on the second ball he played. Smith wasn’t happy and asked for a review but it just reconfirmed the bad news for him.
Marcus Stoinis and Alex Carey were now responsible for taking the Australian team forward on the scorecard. They hardly got to play an over when the umpires called for a break with only one over left.
The play resumed in a while with Carey and Stoinis returning to the pitch and fetching 13 more runs for their team in the last 6 balls. Australia finished off strong with an imposing 381/5 on the scoreboard.
Bangladesh had a huge task ahead of them in chasing down a mammoth total of 382 to beat Australia. Soumya Sarkar and Tamim Iqbal looked to score early, getting two quick boundaries.
Captain Aaron Finch halted the Bangladesh wagon wheel before it could gain any momentum. Sarkar faltered running between the wickets and the skipper stumped him away with a brilliant piece of fielding. The tigers suffered an early wicket due to miscommunication between its openers.
Australia took an unwarranted review when a back of a length delivery from Nathan Coulter-Nile hit Shakib on the pads. Replay clearly showed that Shakib was safe and Australia lost their sole review.
Shakib al Hasan has been in a great form recently, hitting a brilliant 124 in 99 balls while taking two wickets against West Indies. He looked to repeating the formula for Australia with quick boundaries. Tamim Iqbal and Shakib al Hasan kept their team in the play after the early shock of Sarkar’s wicket. It would be a short lived comeback though.
Stonis caught a big fish for his team as Shakib closed the bat too early to get a leading edge and hand delivered his wicket to David Warner at mid off.
Bangladesh seemed to have learned nothing from the early run out of Sarkar. Tamim Iqbal nudged the ball to mid-wicket and sought to get a quick single. Steve Smith narrowly missed the bails to give Mushfiqur Rahim a lifeline.
Tamim Iqbal looked quite comfortable on the crease as his 47th ODI fifty came up. It was also his first 50 in the 2019 World Cup. He played a vital role in sustainably carrying his team forward.
Unfortunately for Bangladesh, Mitchell Starc struck in his first ball of the over. Tamim Iqbal looked dejected as he walked back at 62. This was a crucial wicket for Australia as it shifted the trajectory of the match. Starc became the leading wicket-taker in the 2019 World Cup.
He did not give the tigers any room to breathe as right after taking the wicket, he delivered a 143/h ball that struck Liton Das on the helmet. Thankfully, Liton got a quick check up and was cleared to play, changing his helmet for precaution.
Das and Rahim looked to up the score with a few boundaries between them before Australia struck again. Liton Das took a review but the third umpire went with the ground umpire’s original decision and Das returned to the pavilion at 20 off 17 balls. Bangladesh was under severe pressure by this time and needed 198 runs from 108 balls to win. Das, who scored 94 against West Indies, couldn’t help his team in the big chase.
Mahmudullah and Rahim tried their best to bring the game back to their court with Rahim bringing in his 50 to cut down on the massive total. Bangladesh needed 137 off 60 balls to win at this point and the batsmen hit two big sixes to dent the total further. Mahamudullah also got to his 50 in a run chase that had slipped out of Bangladesh’s hand.
Australia cemented that fact with Coulter-Nile picking up back to back wickets in the form of Mahmudullah and Sabbir Rahman. Mahmudullah put in a valiant effort for his team, departing at 69 0ff 50 balls.
Bangladesh failed to stop the quick fall of wickets as Starc added Mehidy Hasan to his list.
Mushfiqur Rahim got a century that was more bitter than sweet as Australia defeated Bangladesh by 48 runs despite his efforts. It was a bit sad that Bangladesh got to its highest ODI score of 333 runs and still faced defeat.
Australia is now at the top of the table with 10 points after the win while Bangladesh hangs precariously in the balance at number 5 with 5 points.