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Australia survive Bangladesh fright

By The Assam Tribune

BARBADOS, May 6 (IANS): Australia were rescued from a batting collapse by Michael Hussey before they beat Bangladesh by 27 runs in the last Group A match of the World Twenty20 here Wednesday.

Bangladesh had pinned down Australia at 65 for six, before Hussey (47 not out) and Steven Smith (27) bailed the team out with a 74-run stand and took the total to 141 for seven.

The Australian pace attack then took control of the match taking four wickets inside four overs. Bangladesh fought bravely to recover from the top order collapse with skipper Shakib Al Hasan (28) leading the charge and Mushfiqur Rahim (24) providing the support. The lower order batsmen used the long handle to keep their chances alive but in the end Bangladesh were all out in 18.4 overs. Australian Paceman Dirk Nannes took four wickets while David Hussey and Steven Smith got two each.

Australia, who had beaten Pakistan in the first match, thus qualified as the top team from the group with two wins from two matches. But Wednesday they faced a strong challenge from Bangladesh in the lively wicket at Kensington Oval which was hosting its first match of the tournament.

Bangladesh, after being asked to field, made the most of the pitch which assisted bounce and turn. The slow bowlers who are Bangladesh's bowling strength choked the Australian batsmen and forced them to commit mistake. It was a clinical bowling performance from the sub-continent team. They were able to take wickets and also contain the hard-hitting Australian batsmen. Boundaries dried up for almost 10 overs after the fourth over and it was Hussey who broke the shackles with some clean strikes.

Pacer Mashrafe Mortaza (2-28) opened the floodgates when he dismissed Shane Watson with a well directed bouncer. Shakib (2-24) removed David Warner and Michael Clarke, who made 16 off 21 balls, was out while trying to clear the boundary off part time spinner Mohammad Ashraful.

Brad Haddin, David Hussey and Cameron White took their time in the middle with Shakib, Abdur Razzak and Ashraful bowling a tight line, but did not trouble the scorers much.

Hussey and Smith then batted sensibly to revive the Australian innings. Hussey struck four fours and one six in 29 balls. Smith struck two sixes as Australia made amends in the final overs to put up a competitive total.

Bangladesh top order crumbled in face of some good fast bowling by the Australian quicks. Nannes and Shaun Tait generated pace and left Bangladesh struggling at four for 15. Shakib and Rahim shared 48 runs to keep their hopes alive. But both holed out in the deep and Bangladeshi challenge looked over. Jahurul Islam (18) and Shaiful Islam (16) played aggressively but could not take their team home.

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