Michael Hussey and Nannes take Australia through
Australia 141 for 7 (M Hussey 47*, Smith 27) beat Bangladesh (Shakib 28, Nannes 4-18) by 27 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Michael Hussey reprised his favourite role, of the rescue artist, to steer Australia to a competitive total before Dirk Nannes' pace and some world-class fielding confirmed there would be no repeat of last year's embarrassing first round World Twenty20 exit. Bangladesh's defeat also meant defending champions Pakistan, the team most likely to take the flight home in case Group A was decided on net run-rate, also progressed to the Super Eights.
Bangladesh were dreaming of another famous upset in a global tournament in the Caribbean after their armada of spinners thrived on a pitch with bounce and turn at the Kensington Oval to cut Australia to 65 for 6. The slow bowlers had been so effective that there had been no boundaries for more than ten overs after Michael Clarke got off the mark with a lovely hit over long-off in the fourth over, before Hussey and Steven Smith pounded 74 runs to push Australia to 141.
Playing with typical Australian resilience, Hussey and Smith more than doubled the total in the final seven overs. The boundary drought ended with Hussey swiping a short ball from Abdur Razzak to square leg in the 15th over. The real acceleration came two overs later, when Hussey surgically picked off 17 runs off Mashrafe Mortaza - there was an effortless flick for six, a tickle to fine leg for four and a dab to third man for four more.
Smith's runs were collected in a more brawny manner. A powerful lofted cover drive brought him his first four and there were two brutal leg-side sixes off Razzak in the penultimate over, before he was run-out for a quick 27, his first major batting performance on the international stage.
The pair's heroics came after a limp top-order show. Mortaza surprised Australia's power-hitting openers with the extra lift he extracted from the track in the opening over, but regular programming seemed to have returned when David Warner muscled a six and a four off Shafiul Islam in the next. Mortaza had Shane Watson top-edging towards backward square leg in the third over, before Bangladesh's spinners came on to choke the runs, which resulted in a slew of wickets. Neither Clarke nor the promoted Brad Haddin could score fast, and the Twenty20 specialists, David Hussey and Cameron White, also flopped to leave Australia fretting.
But on a pacy pitch, Bangladesh's top order was even more feeble. Shaun Tait worried Imrul Kayes with a string of fast and furious deliveries in the first over before trapping him with a slower one. In the next over, Tait swooped at third man to take a tough, low catch to send back the experienced Mohammad Ashraful. Nannes' short-of-a-length bowling fetched him two wickets in the fourth over when Aftab Ahmed and Mahmudullah miscued attempting cross-batted strokes. With Bangladesh at 15 for 4, both Australia and Pakistan fans were a happy lot.
Shakib and Mushfiqur Rahim, two of the best Bangladeshi batsmen, showed some fight and hitting ability in a 48-run stand but another stunning catch ended their resistance. Hussey enhanced his claim for the Man-of-the-Match award by haring back towards the square leg boundary and diving to pluck a slog-sweep from Shakib.
Bangladesh's chances evaporated with that dismissal, and they hobbled along to 114 before being bowled out in the 19th over. Australia's dominance in the field was shown by the number of dot balls they bowled - 58. The bowling attack looks fearsome, the fielding is top-notch and after sweeping through the initial phase, if Clarke's men repeat their performance against India, the odds on Australia claiming the one world title to elude them will shorten considerably.
Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo