Australia pace attack
The four-man pace attack is key to Australia’s strength at this World Cup but even then, the twin threat of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins will hold the most significance for Bangladesh in this game. Starc’s sharp inswingers at pace has demolished top-order left-handed batsmen at the tournament and Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar must be on their guard. The left-armer also gets the ball to zip and bounce a little more, traits that see him at the summit of the wicket-takers’ list at this World Cup. Meanwhile, Cummins has bowled at a nagging length making it a test of patience. The duo together has scalped 24 wickets in this tournament and most crucially their partnership spells have brought Australia back into the game in key matches.
A twin spin threat to thwart Tigers?
Glen Maxwell and Aaron Finch have shouldered occasional spin duties for Australia. Against Bangladesh the Aussies might opt for a varied attack and coach Justin Langer hinted of playing two specialist spinners in the line-up in case the wicket is dry. Alongside leg-spinner Adam Zampa, Australia might also play off-spinner Nathan Lyon. Zampa will be key against the likes of right-handers Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah Riyad, who are adept at playing spin while the presence of Tamim, Soumya and Shakib might make Lyon’s inclusion a significant factor.
Who to target from the Aussie attack
Zampa’s inexperience coupled with the presence of experienced middle-order batsmen in the Bangladesh side means that he is a bowler Bangladesh can look to target. Coulter-Nile and Jason Behrendorff do not have express pace and will rely on seam movement to trouble the Tigers. Kane Richardson, if picked, will look to do a containment job.
Bat or bowl first?
Trent Bridge is known to produce high-scoring matches and will reportedly feature a track that favours batsmen. The obvious choice for the Tigers will be to bat first and put runs on the board and then let the bowlers keep the Aussies under pressure. However, Bangladesh will have to keep in mind that Windies bounced Pakistan out for just 105 at this ground in this very World Cup.
Australia batting threat
Aaron Finch will be key man at the top. With a top-order which has not flourished with their scoring-rate, Finch can ignite the engine at the top. Glen Maxwell is one who has not got going in this World Cup but will be massive threat if given loose deliveries. Wickets will be key early to put any meaningful pressure on the Australia batting line-up with the middle-order not clicking as required.
It is needless to point out that the Australia pace duo -- Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins -- will be coming at the Bangladesh opening pair of Tamim and Soumya all guns blazing. While it is a no brainer that Bangladesh need to survive through the tough phase with minimum damage, it also needs to be ensured that the Tigers do not create undue pressure by being too cautious initially. Tamim needs to do what he has been doing for almost the past few years -- playing the anchor role. Much is expected of Tamim in this game as the left-hander has scored 281 runs -- the highest by any player in the two sides’ current World Cup squad -- in the eight matches he played against Australia. And Soumya needs to play the aggressor’s role and put the pressure back on the Aussies – just as he has been doing in recent times.
Shakib Al Hasan has been the standout performer for Bangladesh in the mega-event so far. Having already smashed two tons and as many fifties in the World Cup, Shakib remains atop the run-getters’ list with 384 runs in four matches. Shakib will be relied upon heavily once again. However, the Tigers are yet to tackle a situation where the ace all-rounder has failed to deliver. Liton Das’s 94 off 69 deliveries in his debut World Cup match gives Tigers some belief but against Australia the rest of the middle-order need to contribute if Shakib does not come up with the goods.
Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah Riyad -- who have been far from their best in the tournament -- would have to step up in the likely abesence of Mosaddek Hossain and Mohammad Saifuddin in the lower middle-order. If picked, Sabbir Rahman can bolster the batting while Mehedi Miraz can also help with a late onslaught.
Miraz to open the bowling?
Bangladesh may not have the luxury of playing an unchanged squad from the Windies game with Mohammad Saifuddin a doubt for the game alongside Mosaddek Hossain. Banlgadesh may line up Rubel Hossain alongside Mashrafe Bin Mortaza and Mustafizur Rahman. However, the main weapon of the Tigers can still be considered the spinners. Shakib and Mehedi, will be banked upon to keep Australia at bay. Mehedi has already opened twice in the World Cup -- against South Africa and New Zealand. Both South Africa and New Zealand had a left-handed opener with Quinton de Kock opening for the Proteas and Collin Munro for the Kiwis and it would not be surprising to see Miraz in action early against Australia in order to put left-hander David Warner in trouble. There is no doubt that the only way to keep Warner quiet is to get his wicket early and while Miraz seems the best bet to do that, Shakib and Mosaddek will be relied upon in the middle overs to keep the scoring rate in check on a track that will likely favour batsmen.
Fizz to finally get going?
Although Mustafizur Rahman is yet to deliver to his full potential so far, the left-arm quick who scalped seven wickets in four matches will have a key role to play today. On a presumably dry track, the 23-year old’s cutters could be effective. Mustafizur could be called upon once again to put the brakes on the Aussie charge. However, the Tigers need to handle his over quota more smartly.