On the eve of this match, Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza proclaimed that his side would respond to the suspension of Taskin Ahmed and Arafat Sunny with an emphatic statement on the field. There would be no such inspiring tale to follow.
Yet to adjust to life without Taskin and Sunny, Bangladesh proved to be no match for Australia here on Monday, going down by three wickets. This below-par performance saw Mashrafe’s men succumb to a second-straight loss, while Australia pulled one back after a defeat to New Zealand in its opening fixture.
Set a modest target of 157, Australia rode on Usman Khawaja’s 45-ball 58 — his highest T20I score. Khawaja played a calm hand, keeping the unit in sight of the required rate until his dismissal in the 14th over. The southpaw left with Australia needing 42 from 41 balls, and despite throwing away wickets as the contest drew to a close, the favourite went past the finish line.
Earlier, Mahmudullah (49 n.o., 29b, 7x4, 1x6) provided the late impetus to propel a stuttering Bangladesh innings. The Australian bowlers kept the batsmen in check for the first 17 overs, keeping a bulk of the deliveries straight and on a good length.
Nathan Coulter-Nile took the new ball, and worked up appreciable pace while giving the openers no room to take a swing. A struggling Soumya Sarkar, found wanting by Coulter-Nile, guided a rare wide ball from Shane Watson to point in the next over.
Watson scalped another when Sabbir Rahman made awkward contact off a short ball, allowing James Faulkner to take a diving catch at mid-on. The first PowerPlay ended with the side on 33 for two, even as two-drop Shakib Al Hasan was beginning to find his feet.
Leggie Adam Zampa was introduced in the tenth over, and he found success immediately. Mohammad Mithun — taking first strike in place of the indisposed Tamim Iqbal — pulled a short one to deep mid-wicket, before Shuvagata Hom was caught in front of the stumps off a flipper.
A little while later, Zampa —he bowled just the one over in the previous match —sent back Shakib, the set batsman. An attempted cut by Shakib found the hands of short third-man, and Bangladesh had made an unimpressive 105 or five in the 16th over. Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim then gave their team a much-needed push.
The final three overs yielded 15, 17 and 12 runs respectively, partially undoing all the hard work done by the Australians up to this point.