Australia take on the West Indies in a must-win Super 10 match in the World T20 on Friday.
Venue: Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur
Date: Friday, March 28
Start time: 9:30 a.m. GMT
Weather: Accuweather is forecasting an uncomfortably hot 38 degrees Celsius for Friday. With the weather heating up, expect some serious humidity and uncomfortable conditions.
Group 2 is shaping up to be quite tasty in terms of progression to the semi-finals. West Indies have managed to sneak into second on net run rate and will need to beat Australia if they want to increase their chances. Australia, meanwhile, probably require a win if they want to keep their hopes alive. With so much resting on almost every game, the pressure is on.
The two sides last met in a T20 over a year ago—in February 2013—and West Indies won by 27 runs, but in the shortest format of the game, history counts for little. Australia pushed Pakistan close in their opening fixture and have plenty of positives to take out of that match, even if their bowling attack looks a little imbalanced in subcontinental conditions.
Opener Aaron Finch has backed the team to come back strongly and aggressively. West Indies haven't exactly been overly convincing in their performances, and the match offers the perfect opportunity for the Aussies to enter full-on combat mode.
Finch said in a press conference, as reported by ESPNCricinfo:
I guess it's not ideal to be in it after the first game but there is not a real lot we can do. We are an attacking team, an aggressive team so I think what you will see now is even more free-flowing play, more attacking play.
I think we can take that to another level now and we have got nothing to lose from now on. We have to win three out of three. You can't do that if you sit back and let the game dictate to you. I think you are going to see the team really take on the opposition and give it a serious crack.
Australia certainly have the batting fire power to be aggressive, and Samuel Badree, Krishmar Santokie and Sunil Narine will have to prove that their bowling performances have not been flukes. Santokie has been most impressive, despite only being medium pace. Badree picked up four wickets against Bangladesh, but those came largely due to batting incompetence. Narine has not yet flourished as much as many would expect him to, so expectations are high.
The Windies have a chance to cause a real upset if one of their star players come off. None of the batsmen have done anything spectacular just yet. Australia should have an easy win on the cards, but as T20 has shown so often, it takes just one or two individuals to completely change a team's destiny.
Batting isn't Australia's biggest worry; they've got plenty of chutzpah to get them over the line. Much will depend on the bowlers, though, and Doug Bollinger was the most economical of the lot against Pakistan. Despite getting just one wicket for his efforts, Bollinger was surprisingly accurate. His 7.00 economy rate was the lowest of all the Aussie bowlers and the second lowest of the match.
Sunil Narine hasn't managed to pick up buckets of wickets just yet, but he has been economical. With Australia looking to be aggressive, the pressure created by Narine could translate into some easy scalps.
James Faulkner, David Warner, Brad Hogg, James Muirhead, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Doug Bollinger, Daniel Christian, Brad Haddin (wk), Shane Watson, Brad Hodge, Glenn Maxwell, George Bailey (c), Cameron White, Aaron Finch
Darren Sammy (c), Samuel Badree, Dwayne Bravo, Johnson Charles, Sheldon Cottrell, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Krishmar Santokie, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith