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Australia gunning for comeback against Bangladesh

BANGALORE: Australia will be determined to demolish underdogs Bangladesh in their World Twenty20 clash on Monday, to secure their first points in the group stages and increase their chances of reaching the semi-finals.

Steve Smith’s side lost a thriller to New Zealand on Friday in a big blow to their hopes of winning a T20 trophy that has so far proved elusive.

Australia also face Pakistan and then title favourites and T20 world number one India in Group 2 — and will likely need to overcome both to qualify for the semis.

Smith said he was sure his side could turn things around and defeat Bangladesh after the Black Caps edged past them on Friday, thanks largely to tight bowling.

“Absolutely. We’re still confident,” he said of his side’s title hopes.

Although Australia top the Test rankings and won their fifth 50-over World Cup last year, they have struggled in the shortest form of the game. They have only made the World T20 final once, in 2010, when they lost to England.

Their chances were given a boost after the ICC announced on Saturday it was suspending Bangladesh’s Arafat Sunny and Taskin Ahmed from bowling due to illegal actions.

Off-spinner Sunny and fast bowler Ahmed were reported by the umpires during a preliminary stage WorldT20 match against the Netherlands.

Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza said on Sunday the suspensions were a “devastating” blow to the Tigers’ chances of winning a match, describing both as outstanding bowlers and critical to the team.

“It’s a big blow. Two of our main players are out of the team. But we have to go through the process and continue to play hard,” a downcast Mortaza said.

“We are going to miss everything from them. These two players have been good for us.”

Bangladesh need a victory if they are to have any hope of making the semi-finals, after being demolished by Pakistan in their first group stage match.

All-rounder Shakib Al Hasan and star batsman Tamin Iqbal were bright spots for Bangladesh in that match, scoring an unbeaten 50 and 24 respectively.

But Bangladesh, ranked 10th, have a rotten record in the World T20 — despite their recent improvements in 50-over cricket — and have not beaten Australia in any of their three previous World T20 clashes.

Teams:

Australia (from): Steve Smith (captain), David Warner, Ashton Agar, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, John Hastings, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Nevill, Andrew Tye, Shane Watson, Adam Zampa

Bangladesh (from): Mashrafe Mortaza (captain), Shakib Al Hasan, Abu Hider, Al-Amin Hossain, Mahmudullah, Mohammad Mithun, Mustafizur Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Nurul Hasan, Sabbir Rahman, Soumya Sarkar, Tamin Iqbal, Saqlain Sajib, Shuvagoto Hom.

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