WT20: Australia huff and puff their way to victory over Bangladesh
In-from opener 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 WT20 campaign
Bangalore: Despite being a weekday, a sizeable crowd, largely comprising Bangladeshi supporters, made it through the gates of the M Chinnaswamy Stadium for their team's World T20 clash with Australia yesterday.
Australian batsman Usman Khawaja plays a shot during the World T20 match vs Bangladesh at The Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Monday. Pic/AFP
But that did not deter a small group of Australian fans from putting their spirit on display through that loud chant: "Aussie. Aussie. Aussie."
The Aussie determination — despite a late wobble — was on view in spades in the match as well, as they carved out a three-wicket win to stay alive in the tournament.
Bangladesh began the match on a wrong note, losing opener Tamim Iqbal to food poisoning. The absence of the vastly experienced Iqbal, perhaps, affected Bangladesh's rhythm.
A late flourish (49 runs off 29 balls between Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim) helped them reach 156 for five. A decent looking total it was, but not enough to deny Australia, but only just eventually.
In the forefront of that Australian charge stood a man, who was nearly forgotten by everyone – Usman Khawaja (58 off 45b with 7x4 & 1x6).
Along with a rather modest form with the bat, the left-hander had also needed to undergo a knee reconstruction surgery. Lean form. Surgery. Recuperation time. Khawaja was fast slipping into cricketing oblivion.
But his turnaround was simply remarkable. Post the knee surgery, Khawaja has been in brilliant touch, raking up four successive Test hundreds and two tons in the Big Bash. But that was not enough for him to earn a berth in the Australian one-day squad, sparking a big protest in Australian cricketing circles.
Khawaja though was anything but disheartened, for he's seen bigger obstacles in his life and career. "A year ago if you told me I would have been in all three formats for Australia, I would have laughed at you.
I was not even playing cricket. Now, it is going pretty smooth for me," he had said in a recent interview. That optimism and mental strength was on full show here.
Bangladesh: 156 for 5 in 20 overs (Mahmudullah 49 not out; Adam Zampa 3/23).
Australia: 157 for 7 in 18.3 overs (Usman Khawaja 58; Shakib Al Hasan 3/27, Mustafizur Rahman 2/30).