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March 27, 2014
Cullinan: Concerns over Australia's bowling
Match factsMarch 28, 2014, Mirpur Start time 1530 (0930GMT)
It's the defending champions versus the pre-tournament favourites and neither team has so far set the World T20 alight. West Indies began with a defeat at the hands of India, followed by an easy win over Bangladesh, but in a challenging group it is teams like Australia and Pakistan they will need to beat to progress. Australia started with a loss to Pakistan in a frenetic match that highlighted their problems with spin - both facing it and bowling it. That was always going to be their weakness in these conditions and West Indies will certainly have noted that Glenn Maxwell was the only batsman who really found an effective method against Pakistan's slow bowlers.
To that end, Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree will be key men for West Indies as they aim to restrict Australia. In the two most recent T20s between these teams, spin was an important weapon in setting West Indies on the path to victories. In the semi-final of the 2012 World T20 in Sri Lanka, Narine took 2 for 17 and Badree picked up 2 for 27 as Australia struggled in a 200-plus chase. And last season at the Gabba, Narine's 2 for 19 again prevented Australia getting a move on in pursuit of 192 for victory. But the theme in both of those games was runs on the board - the West Indies spinners need backup from their batsmen, which did not come against India.
Only two teams from this group will advance to the semi-finals and India already have two wins and are yet to play Bangladesh, putting them in a very strong position. The likelihood is that West Indies, Australia and Pakistan will be vying for the second semi-final spot from this group. An Australian victory here would keep those three teams locked together on points. An Australian loss would leave them on the brink of exit.
Form guide(completed matches, most recent first)
West Indies WLLWW
Watch out for
Allrounder James Faulkner appears set to make his return from a knee injury that has kept him out of action since the end of the one-day series against England in January. Faulkner will add balance and aggression to this Australian outfit and West Indies have seen first-hand that he does not back down on the field. He was fined for giving Chris Gayle a send-off in an ODI in Canberra in 2012-13 and this week when asked about West Indies, he said: "I don't particularly like them". After a comment like that, the feeling might be mutual.
The No.2-ranked T20 international bowler in the world - behind his team-mate Narine - Samuel Badree is fresh from a four-wicket haul against Bangladesh and his legspin will again be important on the slowish surface in Mirpur. Badree has played the Australians only once in an international and on that occasion he took the new ball and got rid of both openers, David Warner and Shane Watson.
Doug Bollinger might be the man to make way for Faulkner, given the abundance of left-armers in the side. Cameron White is the only backup batsman in the group but it is difficult to see how he would squeeze in.
Australia (possible) 1 Aaron Finch, 2 David Warner, 3 Shane Watson, 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 George Bailey (capt), 6 Brad Hodge, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 James Faulkner, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Nathan Coulter-Nile, 11 Brad Hogg.
After their win over Bangladesh, West Indies may be inclined to go in with an unchanged line-up, however, there are some doubts on Gayle's fitness. Gayle appeared to have been hampered by a sore ankle against Bangladesh, but team management has been unwilling to reveal the exact nature of the injury. Darren Sammy downplayed its severity, however, suggesting Gayle will play.
West Indies (possible) 1 Dwayne Smith, 2 Chris Gayle, 3 Lendl Simmons, 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 Dwayne Bravo, 6 Darren Sammy (capt), 7 Andre Russell, 8 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 9 Sunil Narine, 10 Samuel Badree, 11 Krishmar Santokie.
Spin has proven a key weapon so far at this venue and that is likely to be the same again, with not much pace expected in the wicket.
Stats and Trivia
"They have a powerful batting line-up on paper… It's going to be about keeping calm under pressure. They're going to come hard at us."
West Indies spinner Samuel Badree
"A lot of guys have played Narine in the Big Bash and in the IPL. While having faced him quite a bit we are going to have our plans. He is still a quality bowler. He spins it both ways. Anyone who does that is going to present a challenge."
Australia opener Aaron Finch
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Brydon Coverdale
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