An intrepid Bangladesh begins their world cup super eight campaign against in-form Australia today at Sir Viv Richards Stadium in Antigua. Bangladesh team has shown no intention to succumb to the fear factor of facing raging Australia and are determined to pull off another surprise like they did in Cardiff in 2005.
Current holder Australia is back in its best after drubbing tournament favorites South Africa and West Indies in previous two matches. On the way to the record hattrick world cup crown they are aiming to brush Bangladesh aside while Bangladesh camp has shown a lot of character ahead of the clash and are ready to embrace the champions. Australia has scored over 300 runs in their last six ODI and they 83 run defeat they inflicted on South Africa is the lowest margin of their victory.
After Australia captain challenged the oppositions to put them in after winning toss, Bangladesh captain Bashar vowed to follow their own game plan to interrupt winning trot of the Aussies. Bashar insisted that Bangladesh will make the life of the world champion's difficult to secure the win.
"We're not finished yet, it is not going to be easy; it will be very tough. But we believe it is not an impossible task. We had a good win against New Zealand, another against India - and we strongly believe that if we play well together on our day we can beat anyone" said Bashar in an interview with Prothom Alo, a Dhaka based daily.
The youthful Bangladesh wants to enjoy their game against the tournament favorites and feeling no pressure ahead of their toughest encounter of the tournament. Mohammad Ashraful, the hero of Cardiff win against Australia promised positive cricket on the field and Mashrafe Mortaza, the center point of Bangladeshi bowling vowed to unsettle the dominant Aussie top order to take the command. These optimisms can only show the part of the morale of Bangladesh team who qualified to the super eight after toppling India.
Australian captain Ricky Ponting rubbished speculations of a Cardiff replay and believes the cricket they are playing will be good enough to outperform Bangladesh. Australia in current form can easily demolish the young Bangladesh side but taking them lightly can turn into a costly affair as Bangladesh has already established them as the "Surprise Packet" of the tournament.
Australians are a bit concerned about the batting form of Michael Hussey and he may get a promotion in batting order in today's match. Bangladesh is most likely field the same team that played against India.
Australia (probable) Adam Gilchrist (wk), Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds, Mike Hussey, Shane Watson, Brad Hogg, Nathan Bracken, Glenn McGrath, Shaun Tait.
Bangladesh (probable) Shahriar Nafees, Tamim Iqbal, Saqibul Hasan, Aftab Ahmed, Habibul Bashar (captain), Mohammad Ashraful, Mushfiqur Rahim, Abdul Razzak, Mohammad Rafique, Mashrafee Mortaza, Syed Rasel.
Umpires - Aleem Dar (Pakistan), Billy Bowden (New Zealand).