Usman Khawaja made 58 as Australia defeated Bangladesh by three wickets in Bengaluru on Monday, to kick-start their World T20 campaign.
It was a must-win fixture for both sides after losing their opening games, and the defeat for the Bengal Tigers all but spells the end of their hopes of reaching the semi-finals. Australia next face Pakistan on Friday, which could play a huge role in who progresses from the group stages.
Khawaja’s inclusion for the first two matches came under the spotlight as it meant there was no space for the No 1 T20 batsman in the world Aaron Finch, but Khawaja is one of the most in-form batsman in the world across the formats, and his selection has been justified so far, with his two highest scores for the Baggy Greens in T20s coming in this spectacle.
Australia have Man of the Match Adam Zampa to thank for pegging Bangladesh back at regular intervals. He finished with impressive figures of 3-23, as Bangladesh appeared to be struggling to make anything more than 140. That changed at the end, as Mahmadullah struck six boundaries in 11 balls in the last three overs, to propel them to a competitive 156-5.
Australia appeared to be coasting to victory as Khawaja and Shane Watson brought up a fifty stand inside six overs before Watson was run out for 21. Khawaja anchored the innings with the middle order chipping in. The important thing for them was that the run rate never slowed down as David Warner scored 17 off nine balls, and crowd favourite Glenn Maxwell struck 26 off just 15.
A collapse at the end gave Bangladesh a sniff, but James Faulkner hit the winning runs with nine balls remaining, to get them on the board in this tournament.