Cricket World Cup

Live Commentary: Australia vs. Bangladesh - as it happened

:Headline: Live Commentary: Australia vs. Bangladesh - as it happened: ID:206680: from db_amp
The World Cup match between Australia and Bangladesh at the Gabba is abandoned without a ball being bowled due to the after-effects of Cyclone Marcia in Brisbane.

Australia's World Cup match with Bangladesh at the Gabba this morning was supposed to mark Michael Clarke's return to competitive international cricket.

However, Cyclone Marcia and the non-stop rain that followed in Brisbane denied the fit-again Aussie captain the chance to play for the first time since December.

The match was abandoned without a ball being bowled at 6.42am GMT, with each side collecting a point which leaves them level near the top of Pool A.

Morning all. Today was supposed to be Michael Clarke's big injury return, but the weather forecast obviously hadn't read the script. Cyclone Marcia has ripped through Queensland this week and threatened the status of Australia's World Cup match with Bangladesh at Brisbane.
Obviously it goes without saying that a bit of cricket is a little insignificant in the wake of a destructive storm, but the ICC are not giving up and are still hopeful of play at the Gabba, in some capacity.
Unfortunately, the current scenes do not look promising. The post-cyclone rain has hit as anticipated and the Gabba is looking very wet at present. The covers are on and the start will certainly be delayed.

The latest is that the toss and the start has now officially been delayed. We were scheduled to get underway in about 12 minutes. That will not be the case, and there are still major doubts over whether we will get any cricket at all. Sorry that I cannot bring you more promising news!
Here is the most recent of several ICC statements on the weather and its potential impact:

"Our thoughts are with people who have been adversely affected. As the forecast for Brisbane has improved somewhat, there is a chance at this stage that play can go ahead today, perhaps with reduced overs.

"While that chance exists, match officials will try to give the teams the chance to compete for maximum points as there are no reserve days during the pool stage of the tournament. Once the situation becomes clear later in the day, ticket holders will be advised about any potential refunds."

There is no reserve date, so, should the fixture be abandoned, the two sides would pick up a point apiece. That would clearly suit one team more than the other. A heavily reduced game is Australia's best chance. A minimum of 20 overs per side have to be played for a result to stand.
In the meantime, I'm afraid there is going to be a lot of waiting around. OR, you could join my colleague Callum Mulvihill for live coverage of Pakistan vs. West Indies from Group B. Having been 1-4, Pakistan are now 61-5 chasing West Indies' 310-6. So, it's fair to say that they have some work to do.
Just to illustrate exactly the peril that this match finds itself under; Brisbane not long ago...

I tell you who else this weather will be worrying; England. Bangladesh are likely their biggest rivals to finish in the fourth and final qualifying spot from Pool A and this is a point that they will not have been counting on the Bengals collecting. The two teams meet at Adelaide on March 9.
England, humbled by Australia in their opening game and humiliated by New Zealand yesterday, are pointless and bottom of the Pool A table. They have Scotland next on Sunday in what is a must-win match.
UPDATE: There are sounds from the locals that the rain is just relenting slightly. To say it was brightening up, though, would perhaps only be a reflection of just how bad the conditions were, because, by all accounts, it is still as gloomy as England's World Cup chances around the Gabba.
The latest that play would be permitted to start would be at 6.30pm local time, that's 8.30am in the UK. I can hear club cricketers from all over the world moaning; "can't they just call if off already." The difference here being that the players aren't desperate to rush to the bar, except David Warner, maybe.
Over in Christchurch, West Indies remain firmly in command having taken the wicket of Sohaib Maqsood (50) to dent the Pakistan revival and leave them 118-6 off 29 overs, chasing 311 to win. The unpredictable Shahid Afridi has joined Umar Akmal, who himself has just reached his half-century.
UPDATE: Conditions are steadily improving in Brisbane. Heavy rain has become light drizzle and there are apparently even signs of a few of the most enthusiastic players, Australians of course, limbering up. Most of those out at the Gabba remain ground staff and they have a real job on to make it playable.
Bangladesh may be quietly hoping that almost a two-day downpour will prove too much for the Australian sun and the magical Super Sopper to dry out. They have lost their previous two World Cup matches to the Aussies and have only ever beaten them once in one-day internationals.
English cricket fans may remember that victory? It came prior to the famous 2005 Ashes triumph, in the NatWest Series. A Mohammad Ashraful hundred saw Bangladesh chase down 250 at Cardiff. Ring any bells? Ashraful is now serving a five-year ban for corruption. What a shame. He was briefly an English hero.
Things appear to have taken a turn for the worse at the Gabba again. Not ideal? Understatement.

Some solemn Australian faces suggest that things are looking bleak. Top right, Mitchell Marsh, one of the heroes of the England thrashing. Top left, Tom Beale, who went to my college. Wow, small world and all that. I see him and Jenny didn't go the distance. I warned you Jenny, that time in Drama class.

RESULT! West Indies have beaten Pakistan by 150 runs in Christchurch- their biggest margin of victory against The Green Shirts in an ODI when batting first. Andre Russell starred with 43 from 13 rocks before Jerome Taylor took three wickets with the new ball. Read our full match report here.
An important win for the Windies following their shock defeat to Ireland. Pakistan, meanwhile, are in trouble having now lost both of their opening games and their batting looks extremely fragile. Ireland and Zimbabwe are decent outfits and may push them all the way for qualification to the quarter-finals.
Close of play in NZ means that cricket's eye is now firmly fixed on Brisbane, but the sight is not a pleasant one. We have another three hours to decide this game's fate, but we may not need that long.

Both of these teams have won all of their last five ODI matches. There is always a chance that a potential abandonment could hamper momentum, but Australia were so impressive in beating England, and they have fit-again captain Michael Clarke to return and strengthen that side.
One of Australia's primary concerns at the moment may be that Clarke might not have the opportunity to get out to the middle before their heavyweight clash against co-hosts New Zealand next Saturday. The 33-year-old, who already had a long-standing back problem, has not batted in a competitive international since injury his hamstring midway through the Test series against India in December.
Early on during his recovery, Australia earmarked this match for Clarke to make his comeback, and coach Darren Lehmann confirmed to the press on Wednesday that his skipper would be in the XI in Brisbane. He did not reveal who would be making way for him, though. So, who could it be?
George Bailey has been tipped to be dropped and even admitted prior to the England game, which he actually captained, that he suspected that would be the case. However, he made an important 55 at the MCG and has led the team well in Clarke's absence. His place could yet be salvaged.
Bailey's runs in Melbourne have put the pressure on Shane Watson. He is probably in the worst form of Australia's top seven, having made only one century and one 50 in his last 20 ODI innings. Lehmann and Clarke value what he offers with the ball, but with Marsh stepping up big time over the last 12 months and James Faulkner a key man when fit, Watson's days as an all-rounder in the side may be numbered.
There is actually a possibility that a reduced-overs match could see Clarke's return delayed. Watson and Bailey are more explosive players in the shorter format and the captain may not get in Australia's strongest 20-over side. Considering all of the pre-match hype, that would be a brave call.
UPDATE: Time is running out. We will likely learn whether this game will be called off in the next 45 minutes, because the groundsman will need two hours to get the pitch and outfield fit for play, which must start by 8.30am GMT. With rain still falling above the Gabba, an abandonment looks inevitable.
If a minor miracle does happen, who will be Bangladesh's danger men? Shakib Al Hasan is their blockbuster star, top of the ODI all-rounder rankings and an IPL and Big Bash League star. He made 63 and took two wickets in the 102-run victory over Afghanistan, so is in pretty good shape too.
This is now a well-schooled Bengals outfit. Many of the side, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Rubel Hossain and new captain Mashrafe Mortaza have played together for some time and have plenty of experience playing against the top nations, while Tamim Iqbal is always exciting at the top of the order.
They will be playing with confidence too, having won all six games since Mashrafe started leading the side. The captaincy has been passed around between Shakib and Mushfiqur of late, but they now seem to have found a winning formula with their opening fast bowler, who has 186 ODI wickets.

MATCH ABANDONED That's it. The match has officially been abandoned. The rain was still coming down and, even had it stopped immediately, there would not have been enough time for the ground staff to make the puddle-spotted outfield playable. Australia and Bangladesh get a point each.
That leaves the Aussies and the Bengals second and third respectively in Pool A, tied on three points, and the only sides other than New Zealand in the group to have points on the board. Australia face the red-hot Black Caps in a mouthwatering clash next Saturday. Bangladesh play Sri Lanka on Thursday.
A reminder that we did get some World Cup cricket earlier, with West Indies thrashing Pakistan by 150 runs in Christchurch to leave their opponents in an England-like position, rooted to the bottom of Pool B.
Speaking of England, I will be here, weather dependent, to take you through their now crucial match with Scotland from Sunday PM, and, before that, Sports Mole will also be covering the big Pool B clash between South Africa and India from 3.00am tomorrow morning.
That's it from me. Thanks for joining SM this morning. Unfortunately, we could not bring you any live cricket from a very wet Brisbane, but the World Cup is yet young! Until next time...

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