Bangladesh's chance to spur World Cup magic - 5 minutes read
The tournament has so far run more or less to expectation of organisers wishing to see as much of the game's biggest financial drawcards as possible. Bangladesh's presence as the most likely usurper of an otherwise entrenched top four teams has been underlined by their beatings of South Africa and the West Indies. To now face Australia is a tantalising prospect, for it is likely that the Tigers will need to beat one of either Aaron Finch's team or India, alongside Afghanistan and Pakistan, to be able to progress to the semi-finals.
It was 14 years ago in Cardiff that Bangladesh pulled off one of their most celebrated early victories over Australia in an ODI infamously remembered for Andrew Symonds' ouster after too big a night out beforehand.
More recently, each of the past two ODI encounters between the teams have been abandoned due to poor weather, at the 2017 Champions Trophy and the 2015 World Cup. This means that both teams will circle each other a little uncertainly, although Bangladesh will have an element of something to prove against opponents who cancelled a scheduled Test series against them at home last year for reasons known best to Cricket Australia and its broadcasters.
At the same time, Australia are still seeking their best balance and form, having rather struggled through so far without playing in a complete manner. They came close against Sri Lanka, save for an underwhelming final 10 overs with the bat, and with Marcus Stoinis close to returning to full fitness may also be able to find the sort of team line-up that caters more evenly in terms of batting, pace and also spin bowling. Victory for Australia would more or less seal a semi-finals berth.
Bangladesh WWWWL (last five completed matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
As the tournament's leading run-maker Shakib Al Hasan is a clear threat to the Australians, and his left-arm spin bowling will also be a source of concern, as evidenced by the call-up of Ashton Agar to bowl to Finch's team in the nets at Nottingham ahead of the match. Though his qualities are well known and appreciated by the Australians both at international and BBL levels, it is Shakib's ability to bring others into the game, whether tightening up his end to bring wickets at the other or forming partnerships such as that with Liton Das against West Indies that makes him a still greater danger to any opponent.
So far Glenn Maxwell has arguably played a more critical role for Australia with the ball than with the bat, taking up a great deal of responsibility as the fifth bowler and only spinner after Adam Zampa was dropped following an expensive outing against India. Bangladesh may look to attack his spin as they did Chris Gayle for the West Indies, while Maxwell can also expect to face pace early in his innings, something that Pakistan waited too ling to do at Taunton and Sri Lanks did not get right at the Oval.
Liton Das should hold onto his spot after a match-clinching turn against the West Indies.
Bangladesh (probable): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Soumya Sarkar, 3 Shakib Al Hasan, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 5 Liton Das, 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Mosaddek Hossain, 8 Mehidy Hasan Miraz, 9 Mohammad Saifuddin, 10 Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), 11 Mustafizur Rahman
Australia have a few variables in their selection, including Marcus Stoinis' imminent return to fitness and also the question of whether a spin bowler is included - Nathan Lyon has enjoyed Test match success against Bangladesh in the past. Nathan Coulter-Nile is also in line for a recall after being rested against Sri Lanka.
Australia (possible) 1 Aaron Finch (capt), 2 David Warner, 3 Usman Khawaja, 4 Steven Smith, 5 Shaun Marsh/Marcus Stoinis, 6 Glenn Maxwell, 7 Alex Carey (wk), 8 Nathan Coulter-Nile, 9 Pat Cummins, 10 Mitchell Starc, 11 Kane Richardson/Nathan Lyon
Pitch and conditions
The Trent Bridge surface was on the dry side for England versus Pakistan and West Indies versus Australia, but rain in the interim caused India versus New Zealand to be abandoned and may also have freshened up the square somewhat. Forecast weather is cool and cloudy with scattered showers.
Australia will have noted how Bangladesh attacked the West Indies' short-pitched assault with relish but also plenty of good fortune on a small ground at Taunton. Given Trent Bridge's somewhat bigger dimensions there may be the temptation to try it once more in the expectation that Mashrafe's men will not be quite so fortunate again. Equally, a liberal diet of bouncers would help push the Bangladesh batsmen back on the crease, where they will be still more vulnerable to Mitchell Starc's yorkers.
Bat or bowl first is another conundrum, given Bangladesh's recent penchant for chasing with increasing confidence and brio, while the Australians have shown themselves very adept at defending even a mediocre target with their pace bowling power and alert fielding. Bat-first teams have won the majority of matches at the tournament to date, despite the impression that early orning conditions will suit fast bowlers.
Stats and trivia
Bangladesh are yet to win an ODI at Trent Bridge, having twice lost to England in 2005 and 2010.
Tamim Iqbal (281 runs in eight matches) needs nine runs to surpass Habibul Bashar (289 in 11) as the highest run maker for Bangladesh in ODIs against Australia. Adam Gilchrist is the leading Austrlaian run-maker with 444 from 12 games.
"We said at the start of the tour that we've got lots of options, very adaptable and that's our strength not our weakness. I get the sense some people think that's our weakness. I actually think it's our strength that we can play according to our opposition, we can play accordingly to grounds, we can play accordingly to managing players. That's a strength, not a weakness."