It’s the big one. A must-win game for both teams. For Bangladesh, this match is the difference between a semi-final place and not. For Australia, a loss here could yet see them miss the semis. Australia sit on 4-1 with a solitary loss to India, while Bangladesh sit on 2-2 with a washout, with losses to New Zealand and England. Who will win? Why are we even asking this question? Is this serious? According to Bangladesh fans, they are going to win easily. Can this be real?
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Five Fearless Predictions:
(1) The Shakib al Hasan bubble will burst
4 great performances in 4 matches for Shakib is fantastic but even for him it’s too much to expect 5 in 5 so I am picking a failure here. If nothing else, Australia have been reported in the media to focus on him, something that other teams didn’t do. We know in the past that if teams focus on a task, it is more likely to work, but not guaranteed. That battle will certainly be an interesting one!
(2) Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins will continue to dominate
While Australia have been accused of being a two-man bowling attack, they are certainly two of the best opening bowlers going around, and there’s no reason to suggest that they will fail here. Mitchell Starc in World Cups is averaging more than 2 wickets per match, across 3 World Cups, and is one of the best performing World Cup bowlers of all time. Pat Cummins has been exceptional in this World Cup too.
(3) It will be high scoring
While Bangladesh do have a good bowling line-up, and Australia have some good bowlers too, the emphasis looks like it will be on batting, after Bangladesh scored their highest ever score of 330 to defeat South Africa then performed their highest ever chase of 321 to defeat West Indies. With Marcus Stoinis coming back for Australia and batting down to number 9 Pat Cummins, Australia look well and truly capable of scoring that 300+ score.
(4) Australia will win
While I keep picking against Bangladesh and, twice at least, I’ve been wrong, surely I won’t be wrong this time. This would be an even bigger upset than the other two if Bangladesh can pull it off. It’d be a fairy tale to do it but surely not.
(5) It will be close
While if Australia get on a roll they might end up winning by a big margin, I suspect that they will take this very seriously, and make sure of the win. It could go down to the last 5 overs or a victory by about 50 runs. There might be moments where Bangladesh look like they are a chance.