Australia Blow Bangladesh Away For Ten Wicket Win

Australia made light work to see off Bangladesh in their rain affected Super Eight encounter at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua. After restricting Bangladesh to 104-6 in 22 overs, Australia raced to the victory in just 13.5 overs without losing a wicket. The wet outfield caused by overnight rain forced a curtailed match of 22 overs a side. In-form Aussie opener Matthew Hayden remained unbeaten on 47 runs and his opening partner Adam Gilchrist scored a fluent 59 runs in 44 balls in the 106 run partnership. Bangladesh wasted the only opportunity given to them when young wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim misjudged an outside edge from Gilchrist off of the bowling of Tapash Baisya which went for a boundary. Australia made a terrific reply and raced to 50 in just 6.4 overs; the spinners reduced the run flow but failed to cause any damage in the Australian innings and they reached the target with more than 8 overs to spare. Earlier, a disciplined bowling display from Australia led by Glenn McGrath restricted Bangladesh to a meagre 104-6 in the stipulated 22 overs. McGrath took 3 wickets for 16 runs to reduce Bangladesh to 25-3 and Bangladesh never recovered from that position. The Bangladeshi top order batsmen played too many shots too early and that caused their downfall. Dashing opener Tamim Iqbal was first to go when he was deceived by a slower ball from Nathan Bracken. McGrath immediately removed Shahriar Nafees with a beautiful yorker and Bangladesh lost the momentum required to post a competitive total. Aftab Ahmed and Mohammad Ashraful played some beautiful shots but failed to carry on and went cheaply which effectively blown away the opportunity to create any upset against Australia. Habibul Bashar played a patient innings of 24 off of 43 balls which slowed the Bangladesh progress remarkably. A 36 ball 25 from Saqibul Hasan and some late hitting from Mashrafe Mortaza lifted their score to 104. Nathan Bracken continued his impressive form in the tournament and picked up 2 wickets for 20 runs, Shaun Tait who was the most expensive Australian bowler claiming 1 wicket for 28 runs. There was plenty of drama and uncertainty before the start of the match as overnight rain resulted in a wet outfield with a number of patchy areas. After an unscheduled delay of about 5 hours and six inspections the match was finally started at 14:30 local time (18:30 GMT) and was curtailed to 22 overs a side. Two big quagmires on the boundary's edge were the main area of concern for the umpires. Poor ground management and a lack of initiatives from WICB caused resulted in a longer delay than expected. First, the “super sopper” broke down and then the groundsmen lacked resources to make the field ready for play. Some ground staff even tried to soak water by jumping on pieces of sponges. The efforts were inadequate to say the least and as the sun was shining and there was a good wind, the field was finally left to the nature’s will to dry up. © Khondaker Mirazur Rahman Bangladesh Editor