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05 December 2023

Australia vs Bangladesh: Cyclone Marcia clears path for assault

Australian cricketer Mitchell Marsh plays a game of tennis ball cricket with kids after a training session of the 2015 Cricket World Cup at The Gabba in Brisbane on February 19, 2015. (AFP)

By Agencies

Australia could unleash pace quartet Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins on Bangladesh in Brisbane on Saturday but wicketkeeper Brad Haddin admits they are at the mercy of Tropical Cyclone Marcia.

The Gabba ground is bracing itself for the cyclone to make its forecast way down the Queensland coast, with the anticipated ensuing deluge of rain already putting the match in peril.

In a worrying build-up, the Australian team have been forced to hold training sessions indoors while the storm has left the four-time world champions scratching their heads over the potential make-up of their team.

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"All the weather has done has delayed the naming of the team," Haddin said on Thursday. "We are not sure what we are going to get when we pull the covers up."

The wild weather has also led to speculation that Cummins will join Starc, Hazlewood and Johnson, who all played in the opening 111-run win over England at Melbourne last weekend, in the starting side against Bangladesh.

"Yeah, there is a possibility," Haddin said. "If there wasn't any weather around that probably would have been slim.

"But it's hard to give you a team or what we are thinking because we are so unsure on what is going to happen with the weather and when they pull the covers up."

The only certainty, admitted Haddin, is that skipper Michael Clarke will play in the game having missed the England match after failing to shake-off the lingering after-effects of his long-term hamstring problems.

"This was the plan for Michael all along, for him to be right for this game," said Haddin.

Stand-in skipper George Bailey is expected to make way for Clarke despite calls for all-rounder Shane Watson to be dropped after his first ball duck in the win over England.

Rare win

Bangladesh star batsman Mushfiqur Rahim says beating Australia won't be impossible after seeing off Afghanistan in their first tilt at this year's World Cup.

The Bangladeshis celebrated a rare win at the tournament with a 105-run victory over the newcomers in Canberra on Wednesday, but now face a steeper challenge against the hosts in Brisbane on Saturday.

Mushfiqur was named man of the match in Canberra for his top-scoring 71 off 56 balls in Bangladesh's innings of 267.

Mushfiqur knows the challenge now awaiting the modestly-performing ninth ODI rated Bangladesh team.

"Australia are probably the number one team at the moment the way they are playing, so it's not going to be easy but it won't be impossible either," Mushfiqur told reporters.

"In the one day game anyone can win on the day. Ireland beat the West Indies even with a big chase and they did it with 40 balls remaining, so anyone can win in this game.

"Obviously, going into the weekend's match everyone is expecting Australia will win easily, so hopefully we have something to say about that and all the boys are really geared up for that match.

"If we can do the right things well I think we have the potential to also do well in some of the big matches.

"We are looking forward to that challenge against Australia, Sri Lanka and England and other teams in our group.

"The confidence of our win tonight will help us and there are some areas we need to work on. The spirit is there in the group and hopefully we can click on the day."

Mushfiqur, who helped revive Bangladesh's innings with a stand of 114 runs for the fifth wicket with top-rated all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, said his team needed a thumping win over Afghanistan having lost to their rivals at last year's Asia Cup.

"Everyone knows that we came to the game as favourites and all the expectations were on us to deliver the goods with our fans coming from all over Australia and also all back home," he said.

"We needed a really good win and that's been done. It was not an easy win, but it was a comprehensive win.

"It's a great feeling and as it was the first game everyone was a bit nervous and then everyone calmed down.

"The guys are still learning day by day and I think it was a case of spending time in the middle and looking for some boundaries and not go for all out shots. It was a great feeling batting with Shakib."