Australia v Bangladesh
Thursday November 4th, 14:00
Live on Sky Sports Cricket
Finch's men falter
With Aaron Finch and David Warner finding form at the top of the order, I had suspected that Australia could cause an upset when they faced England on Saturday. The subsequent eight-wicket defeat has suddenly left questions just as the batting unit seemed settled.
It seems I'm in good company in terms of doubting Steve Smith in this format but Shane Warne has been far more vocal on the subject. After making just one in that defeat to England, Warne simply said that Smith shouldn't be in the T20 team. Many will agree but will the selectors be bold enough to make what looks a necessary decision?
All media outlets appear to agree that Mitchell Marsh should return against Bangladesh on Thursday. He adds depth to the batting, plus options in the bowling attack and his treatment up to this point has been puzzling.
Bangladesh bundled out of World Cup
Having lost Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh were always set to struggle but the meek manner of their defeat to South Africa still came as a surprise. The batting unit was vulnerable to pace, and the short ball in particular as they succumbed to just 84 all out.
The bad news for Thursday is that Mahmudullah and his side will get little respite from the likes of Cummins, Starc and Hazlewood. Pace and bounce will be Australia's key weapon and the Bangladesh batters have a short turnaround in which to formulate a plan.
With their side bundled out of the tournament, there was little to cheer Tigers' fans but the pace and seam movement of Taskin Ahmed caused South Africa problems and he'll need to be watched by the Australian top order.
Aussies remain in Dubai
Australia have the benefit of remaining in Dubai where they can assess what went wrong in that heavy loss to England on Saturday. They made just 125 and it will be of little consolation that the average first innings score here, in this tournament, is just a fraction higher at 126.
All seven games at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium have gone to the chasing side so it's clear as to what will happen at the toss. Whoever takes first knock will need to surpass the current highest first innings total of 154 and aim for 165 and beyond.
Bangladesh continue to drift in the match result betting and you can now claim the outsiders at 5.79/2. Not everything is well in the Australian camp but it's hard to argue with their short win price of 1.211/5.
There are a number of additional factors that could be in Australia's favour. Aaron Finch's side have enjoyed an extra two days' rest and remain in Dubai while Bangladesh have a faster turnaround and make the switch from Abu Dhabi.
Clearly there's little encouragement for anyone backing the outsiders: The toss could be important and Taskin Ahmed can trouble Australia's openers but I expect this game to follow a similar pattern to Bangladesh's defeat to South Africa. The pace and hostility of Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood should make the difference and I'm taking two points on an Australian win.
David Warner's return to form with 65 against Sri Lanka will see him start as favourite to top score for Australia at around 3.7511/4. That's not a bad price but I'm edging towards Aaron Finch after the skipper offered the only resistance with 44 from 49 balls in the loss to England.
Finch has been profitable for me in the past and had a tendency to start a tournament strongly. These days he seems less consistent but, if he can survive a testing spell from Bangladesh's opening bowlers, he should make a big contribution against a depleted attack.
The Bangladesh version of the top batsman market looks much harder to predict but there are some interesting odds here. The favourite, Mohammad Naim, could be as high as 4.216/5 while Liton Das has been more consistent and looks a better option at 4.57/2.
I've championed Mushfiqur Rahim, currently at 5.59/2, in this tournament but he looked especially vulnerable against Kagiso Rabada. Das would be my preference but, while I'm staying with just two tips, there are some good prices here for those who make the right call.