An extraordinary bowling performance by Adam Zampa against an insipid Bangladesh has enhanced Australia’s semi-finals chances in the Twenty20 World Cup.
Zampa claimed career-best figures of 5-19 as Bangladesh was bowled out for just 73 in 15 overs in Dubai on Thursday night (AEDT).
Adam Zampa (centre) celebrates taking another wicket in Australia’s defeat of Bangladesh.Credit:Getty Images
Australia claimed victory by eight wickets with a massive 82 balls to spare, lifting their run rate above South Africa’s and completely changing the dynamics of a semi-final path.
It is now possible for Australia to make the play-offs even if they lose their last group match to the West Indies on Saturday night, so long as England beats South Africa on Sunday morning (AEDT).
Victory against the West Indies would give Australia a semi-final berth even if South Africa overcomes unbeaten tournament favourites England. The top two teams in each group go through to the semi-finals.
The spectacular margin of Australia’s victory lifted their run rate from -0.627 to 1.031, going past South Africa’s 0.742. It took Australia above South Africa into second place in group 1 on three wins each, with both teams having a game to play.
Captain Aaron Finch (40 in 20 balls) was the major contributor to Australia’s rapid chase, swinging at almost every delivery. However, he claimed the net run rate didn’t become a major focus until the innings break.
Aaron Finch, left, was the major contributor to Australia’s chase.Credit:AP
“Behind the scenes I know the coaches did (focus on net run rate) but as players we just tried to focus on what we could control,” Finch said.
“We talked about if we got into a position to win big then you take that at the time, but you never plan that. It’s such a fickle game T20, if you take anything for granted you can be on the wrong side of a defeat pretty quick.”
The victory was a far cry from a depleted Australia’s 1-4 T20 series loss on poor pitches in Bangladesh during a difficult tour in July and August.
Zampa’s night could have been even better. He would have claimed a hat-trick if wicketkeeper Matthew Wade had not missed a catch behind.
The clever leg-spinner’s figures are the second best by an Australian in T20 internationals behind 6-30 from Ashton Agar, yet Zampa felt he wasn’t at his best.
“It was an interesting one. You look at cricket as a results-based game and see the five wickets, but it wasn’t the best I’ve bowled,” Zampa said.
“In terms of the situation of our World Cup and how important a big win was, it was really good to be able to contribute.”
Agar was dropped again, allowing Mitch Marsh back into the team. Marsh finished the match with a mighty six over midwicket, giving him 16 not out from just five balls.
Zampa took advantage of Australia’s early pace domination as a deflated Bangladesh suffered a fifth successive loss to exit the tournament.
The poor performance once again raised questions about Bangladesh failing to produce decent wickets at home to allow them to compete on the world stage.
Mitchell Starc started the rot just three balls into the match after Finch won the toss and bowled, beating Liton Das with a quick, swinging yorker as he chopped the ball into the stumps.
It was 2-6 after two overs when Josh Hazlewood beat Soumya Sarka (5) with pace and bounce. The left-hander also chopped the ball into his stumps.
Glenn Maxwell charmed a wicket, Hazlewood claimed his second, and then it was the Adam Zampa show as the procession of wickets continued.
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