It will be meagre consolation, but Australia wound up its sad ICC World Twenty20 sojourn with a win, defeating Bangladesh by seven wickets at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium here on Tuesday.
For Australia, this was always going to be a game where victory would bring little joy but defeat big humiliation, as England found out a day earlier. To their credit, George Bailey’s men handled things without undue fuss.
Bangladesh put up a half-decent batting performance at last, but its adoring supporters — who cheered every boundary, wicket and dive in the field — were lift without much joy.
Chasing 154, Australia crossed the line with more than two overs to spare. The openers squeezed all the life out of the contest, with an alliance of 98 runs (68b). Man-of-the-match Aaron Finch set the tone early on, taking 11 runs off the first over. Sohag Gazi could only watch as the batsman bludgeoned a giant six over deep mid-wicket. Shakib al Hasan’s left-arm spin was dismissed casually beyond extra-cover while Gazi endured more pain. Finch made 71 runs (45b) in all, with seven fours and four sixes.
David Warner was not to be left behind, either. Abdur Razzak was welcomed with a six, and Gazi switch-hit for four. The left-hander was bowled by Al-Amin Hossain for 48, when at one stage not a single wicket looked like falling.
The only bright spot for Bangladesh was the performance of the debutant Taskin Ahmed, who took one for 24 from his four overs. The 18-year-old bowled in the mid-130s consistently, bowling Glenn Maxwell through the gate.
It all felt vacant, however. Like the ones in the evening, both teams would’ve preferred to be playing in more meaningful circumstances.
Earlier, Bangladesh put up its highest total for the tournament after bold, aggressive knocks from Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim. The second-wicket pair was united 20 balls into the innings and would go on to add 112 runs in the next 13 overs.
Nathan Coulter-Nile accounted for the openers, after Bangladesh had opted to bat. Anamul Haque edged to first slip while Tamim Iqbal tamely found the mid-off fielder. Shakib’s response took Australia by surprise. Doug Bollinger was dumped into the stands over deep midwicket while Shane Watson was smashed over long-on.
The surface offered good bounce for this late in the competition, but the more Australia tried to dig the ball in, the harder Bangladesh struck.
Mushfiqur went back in his crease, pulling Bollinger and Coulter-Nile to the leg-side boundary. The captain then stepped out to Glenn Maxwell, hammering him over cow corner. The runs continued to flow, with blows from batsmen at both ends. Daniel Christian was slashed through point and Maxwell, compensating with a free-hit delivery, was dispatched beyond the sightscreen.
Mushfiqur eventually fell for 47 and Shakib for 66, as Bangladesh reached 153.