Australia take on Bangladesh in quest for Super-Eight berth
Bridgetown: Determined to win the only trophy missing from their cupboard, formidable Australia face potential giant-killers Bangladesh in their second and final Group A match for a place in the Super Eight stage of the Twenty20 World Cup here on Tuesday.
With a morale-boosting win over defending champions Pakistan under their belt in the tournament-opener, Australia are aiming to shed the tag of being Twenty20 duds.
Skipper Michael Clarke, leading the team in his first major international tournament, has claimed that the Aussies have improved a lot over the past one year and the results here would reflect that.
"There`s extra motivation from within the squad, we want to perform better in Twenty20 cricket then we have in general. I think our form has improved over the last 12 months and we`ve started really well," Clarke has said.
"The key is going to be adapting to conditions and I think we`ve got a really good squad to do that."
But having lost by a run to Zimbabwe in a practice match, Clarke is well aware of the pitfalls of taking Bangladesh lightly.
The Tigers, as Bangladesh are popularly known, have a history of upstaging big teams in big tournaments.
"We certainly would not be taking Bangladesh lightly. They`ve got some wonderful Twenty20 players who are very aggressive with the bat," said a cautious Clarke.
On paper, however, Australia are hands down favourites.
A batting line-up studded with Twenty20 specialists and a bowling attack that has the variety to unsettle any team, Australia seem to be finally finding their foothold in a format that they didn`t take too seriously till a few years ago.
The intimidating trio of David Warner, Shane Watson and David Hussey is capable of ripping apart any attack in the world and Bangladesh can hardly claim to have the bowling to keep them in check.
Bangladesh go into tomorrow`s match after losing their tournament opener against Pakistan but they can heart from the fact that their top batsmen Mohammad Ashraful and Shakib Al Hasan seemed in good touch in the match.
But their bowling is a major worry as it conceded 172 runs against Pakistan.
Australia, on the other hand, have a quality line-up in both the pace and spin departments. The in-form Doug Bollinger and Ryan Harris have more then made up for Brett Lee`s absence from the pace attack.
The spin department has useful part-timers like Clarke himself.