Preview by Tristan Holme
The events on and around London Bridge on Saturday night have not affected the Champions Trophy, despite the fact that The Oval is less than 4km away. Australia and Bangladesh both trained at the ground on Sunday ahead of their Group A encounter on Monday (June 5), with both teams declaring that they are comfortable with the security arrangements in place. Nevertheless the incident is bound to hang over the game.
In effect, this is a must-win affair for both teams. While Australia escaped from their meeting with New Zealand with a point after rain bailed them out, defeat against Bangladesh would leave their campaign in a precarious position. And having lost their opening match to England, Bangladesh need four points from their remaining two games. It may only be the fifth day of the tournament, but already there is no room for error.
For all of Bangladesh’s improvement over the past three years, Australia are the natural favourites for this game. And yet there could be two leveling factors.
Firstly, the match will played on the same pitch that was used in South Africa’s win over Sri Lanka on Saturday. It was not the sort of batting paradise on which Bangladesh’s bowlers struggled against England, and after drying out further it should provide some assistance to the slower bowlers and the spinners. Australia are not known for their ability to temper their attacking instincts in such situations, and have been found out on more than one occasion.
Secondly, rain is expected to intervene in the evening, which could make the toss a key factor. If Bangladesh can take advantage of this as well as the preferable conditions, they could close the gap between the two teams and create the sort of memorable win that captain Mashrafe Mortaza was part of in Cardiff in 2005.
Before they can do so, they will need to find a better balance to their side – in the tournament opener on Thursday, their lack of a fifth bowler hurt them as England ran away with the game.
When: June 5, 2017 at 1:30 PM local time; 18:00 IST
Where: The Oval, London
What to expect: In South Africa’s win over Sri Lanka on Saturday, footmark scuffs became apparent inside the opening 10 overs of the game and the general consensus was that 280 was probably a par score. The same pitch will be used for this game, when it should be even drier and slower. Both teams would do well to learn from the way that South Africa evaluated conditions and adapted. Meanwhile weather is a big concern – showers are expected in the evening, and look likely to affect the second half of the game.