London: In his own words, Steven Smith's men 'got away' thanks to rain against New Zealand in their tournament opener in Birmingham. The London rain gods compensated for that, denying them what seemed like an easy victory on Monday at The Oval in their ICC Champions Trophy clash against Bangladesh.
Australia was 83 for 1 in 16 overs – well ahead of the DLS Method par of 39 at that stage – in chase of a paltry target of 183 when rain arrived to kill its chance of gaining full points. All Australia needed was four more overs of play, but much to its agony, it is now left with a must-win clash against England.
On the other hand, it also meant Bangladesh stayed alive in the tournament after taking home one point from the game.
Rain was forecast for the evening but for most parts, it seemed like Australia would race ahead of the weather. It did incredibly well to bowl out Bangladesh for 182 in just 44.3 overs and began its chase steadily, despite losing Aaron Finch in the eighth over.
David Warner and Smith seemed well in control but rain returned at around 6:45pm to force players off. After more than an hour, the game was set to restart at 8:30pm with a revised target of 172 in 43 overs, but rain arrived once again to have the final say.
Mitchell Starc led the way with 4 for 29, but it was a collective performance from Australia as every bowler played their part. Bangladesh was never allowed to get away at any stage, and only three batsmen got double-digit scores. That one of those was close to triple digits showed Tamim’s grit and form.
But despite Tamim's fight, the day belonged to Australia’s bowlers.
The tone was set early by Starc and Josh Hazlewood with some aggressive pace and tight lines. Tamim tried to break free and got three early boundaries, but once Soumya Sarkar nicked Hazlewood to the wicketkeeper in the sixth over, things went downhill for Bangladesh.
Like England did in the earlier game, Australia’s pacers targeted Tamim’s ribs and head. The short-ball strategy nearly worked when he gloved and top-edged pulls, but on both occasions, the ball evaded fielders.
Runs were hard to come by too. Only 37 runs came in the first ten overs and the run-rate took a further beating when Imrul Kayes tamely chipped Pat Cummins to point and Mushfiqur Rahim surprisingly chose not to review a leg before decision despite a faint inside edge to Moises Henriques’ straight ball.
By the 17th over, Bangladesh was stuttering at 53 for 3 and went through an 11-over period without a boundary.
Even Travis Head, the part-time offspinner, dominated Bangladesh’s batsmen with a tidy spell of eight consecutive overs. The only phase when Bangladesh showed some fight was when Shakib Al Hasan joined Tamim. With Shakib showing hints of resistance, Tamim grew in confidence and counter-attacked against the run of play.
Bangladesh - 182 (Tamim 95, Starc 4-29)
Australia - 83 for 1 in 16 overs
Result - Abandoned