Don’t count the Aussies out from the 2021 T20 World Cup yet. If South Africa demolished Bangladesh and improved their net run rate on Tuesday, Australia did it in even more emphatic fashion against the same bunch on Thursday at Dubai.
Producing a near-perfect game against a clueless Bangladesh, the Aussies raced away to an eight-wicket romp – with as many as 82 balls to spare – the biggest T20I victory between two full member teams in terms of balls remaining – that saw them overtake the Proteas to the second spot in Group 1, with their NRR having galloped to +1.031, in comparison to SA’s 0.742.
Australia’s thumping win sets up a thrilling last day in Group 1 on Saturday, as they jostle with South Africa for the second semifinalists’ spot along with England in that pool. On that ‘judgement day,’ the Aussies need to beat West Indies at Dubai in the afternoon, and then hope that the Proteas lose to England at Sharjah.
Bouncing back from the hammering that they received from Jos Buttler and England in their last game, the Aussies did everything they needed to do on the day. With their ace quicks firing and leg-spinner Adam Zampa producing a career-best haul of five for 19 in four overs, Australia shot out a mediocre Bangladesh – who followed up on 84 in their last game with an even worse batting performance -for 73 in 15 overs. Thanks to some fight shown by No 7 bat Shamim Hossain (19 off 18 balls), Bangladesh somehow scraped past their lowest score at a T20 World Cup -70 against New Zealand in 2016.
After Mitchell Starc (2-21), Josh Hazlewood (2-8) and even Glenn Maxwell (1-6) left Bangladesh tottering with their opening blows, Zampa cleaned up the rest of the batting line-up. He started off by sending back Afif Hossain, who edged a drive to Aaron Finch at slip, for a duck, before getting Shamim to edge a cut to the’ keeper. After he trapped Mahedi Hasan lbw with one that skidded off the surface on the last ball of his third over, Zampa was on a hat-trick, but was unlucky to miss out on the feat narrowly as Mathew Wade dropped Taskin Ahmed behind the stumps. However, nobody could stop the 29-year-old from bagging his maiden fiver in T20Is, as he had Mustafizur Rahman holing out to long on, and then had Shoriful Islam sharply caught by Steve Smith at slip to wind up Bangladesh’s shoddy innings.
Needing to get 74 in 8.1 overs to get past SA on the table, the Aussies were powered in achieving ‘mission NRR’ in just 6.2 overs by their old, flamboyant opening firm of skipper Aaron Finch (40, 20b, 6×4, 2×4) and David Warner (18, 14b, 3×4), before the recalled Mitchell Marsh (16 not out, 5b, 1×6, 2×4) finished off the farcical proceedings with a ferociously pulled six off Taskin Ahmed.
The resounding win was sweet revenge for the Aussies over Bangladesh, after the latter had outplayed them 4-1 in a T20I series on turners back home.
The thrashing completed a disastrous, disappointing 2021 T20 World Cup campaign for ‘the Tigers,’ who lost all their five games in the Super 12s. They are yet to beat a Test side since the 2007 edition.
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