Bangalore: In-from opening batsman Usman Khawaja struck an impressive half century as Australia overcame a mighty scare due to a middle-order batting collapse to eventually beat Bangladesh by three wickets and bounce back in their World Twenty20 campaign in Bangalore on Monday.
Australia, who needed to win today to remain in contention after losing to New Zealand in their lung opener, were cruising along nicely before suffering a batting collapse and they had to scamper at the end to chase down the target of 157 with nine balls to spare at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
With the win today, Australia collected two points to remain in contention for a semifinal berth while a winless Bangladesh found themselves on the brink of elimination.
Australia were well placed at 95 for one in the 12th over when captain Steven Smith (14) was bowled by a fine delivery from Mustafizur Rahman and that opened the floodgates and gave a chance for Bangladesh to come back into the match.
From there, they lost six wickets in 6.3 overs for the addition of 57 runs as Australia put themselves in trouble from a seemingly comfortable position. Their brisk rate of scoring before the batting collapse saved them from a possible defeat as they huffed and puffed to their first win of the tournament.
Khawaja was out two overs after Smith's departure as he was bowled by Al-Amin Hossain after making a fine 58 which came from 45 balls and studded with seven fours and one six.
David Warner (17) hit Mahmudullah for a four and a six in consecutive deliveries in the 13th over but gave away his wicket in the 15th over, caught and bowled by Shakib Al Hasan.
Mitchell Marsh (6) followed suit in the next over but Glenn Maxwell (26) was hitting a couple of fours and sixes as Australia kept on losing wickets while also scoring at a brisk pace.
Despite losing Maxwell and John Hastings (3) in the 18th over, Australia needed five runs from the final two overs with three wickets in hand and James Faulkner (5 not out) eventually hit the winning runs as Australia reached 157 for 7 in 18.3 overs.
For Bangladesh, who dropped two catches during the Australian run chase, Shakib Al Hasan grabbed three wickets for 27 runs while Mustafizur Rahman took two four 30 runs.
Earlier, middle-order batsman Mahmudullah top-scored with an impressive 49 not out off 29 balls as Bangladesh shook off a wobbly start to post a decent 156 for four after being put to bat.
Bangladesh made a poor start as they were reduced to 26 for 2 in the sixth over but a fine contribution from Shakib Al Hasan (33 off 25 balls) and a late flurry from Mahmudullah took them to a fighting total in their crucial match.
Bangladesh batsmen struggled for most part of their innings and they shook off the shackles only in the last five overs with Mahmudullah taking charge. They added 52 runs from the final five overs -- scoring 15 and 17 runs in the 18th and 19th overs -- to cross the 150 mark after they were placed at 104 for 4 at the end of the 15th over.
Mahmudullah, who hit seven fours and a six in his unbeaten knock, took the responsibility of taking Bangladesh to a fighting total after Shakib's departure as he played some exquisite shots towards the end.
He and wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim (15 not out) had an unconquered sixth wicket stand of 52 runs as they frustrated the Australian bowlers who had done a fine job till then.
Rookie pacer Adan Zampa grabbed three wickets for 23 runs in an impressive bowling spell while Shane Watson took two wickets for 31 runs.
Bangladesh, who lost their opening match against Pakistan, were on the backfoot even before the start of the match as in-form opener Tamim Iqbal was left out as he was unwell, adding to their woes after the suspension of Taskin Ahmed and Arafat Sunny due to illegal bowling actions.
Bangladesh were denied a strong start with Shane Watson claiming the wickets of opener Soumya Sarkar (1) and one-down Sabbir Rahman (12).
A 37-run stand between the other opener Mohammad Mithun (23) and all-rounder Shakib repaired the Bangladesh innings a bit but the Australians bowlers did not allow their opponents to score freely.
Shakib, for a brief period, threatened to take the fight against the Australians with a few lusty blows, including a four and six off Adam Zampa in consecutive deliveries, but Bangladesh batsmen were found wanting to get the big shots.
After Shakib was out in the 16th over, Mahmudullah took the responsibility of first steadying the Bangladesh innings for a while and then taking to a fighting total.
Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.
Updated Date: Mar 22, 2016 08:59:14 IST