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Farewell win in World T20 campaign

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Australia have escaped the embarrassment of a winless World Twenty20, downing Bangladesh by seven wickets in their dead rubber.

Facing a tricky target of 154, Aaron Finch’s entertaining 71 anchored Australia’s successful chase of 3-158, which silenced the partisan Dhaka crowd and snapped a three-game losing streak.

For the first time all tournament Australia’s top order found some form, with Warner and Finch starting the run-chase in grand fashion to put on 98 for the first wicket and set up the win, which was achieved with 15 balls remaining.

Warner (48 off 35) in particular has had a disappointing fortnight, considering his tremendous output in the Ashes and in the victorious Test series in South Africa, but he hit the accelerator early with eight boundaries on Tuesday night, including three sixes.

Finch, who scored 65 in the first-up loss to Pakistan, brought up his half century off 35 and muscled four sixes and seven fours in a 45-ball knock.

But both openers would have rued the missed opportunities in Australia’s live games that could have extended their tournament past the group stage.

Cameron White (18 off 15) negotiated the final overs, before captain George Bailey (11 off seven) secured the comfortable win with a six.

But despite the hollow victory over Bangladesh, it must surely still rank as their worst performance in a major limited overs tournament.

The result leaves hosts Bangladesh as the only team to fail to secure a victory in the group stage – a feat even achieved by associate side the Netherlands with their incredible upset of England on Monday.

Earlier, the home side were boosted by a 112-run partnership between Shakib Al Hasan (66) and captain Mushfiqur Rahim (47 off 36) to finish 5-153.

They were aided by Australia’s curious decision to drop young legspinner James Muirhead and again omit veteran left-armer Brad Hogg from the clash.

Seam-bowling allrounder Dan Christian (0-17 off two overs) was preferred instead – a questionable decision, which irked Australia’s greatest ever spinner, Shane Warne, who was watching from the stands in his role as a TV commentator.

The spin omissions made even less sense when you consider the impact tweakers have had throughout the tournament, and the undeniable potential of Muirhead.

“Aust not playing a specialist spinner! Strange decision,” he tweeted during Bangladesh’s innings.

“Why not persist with a 20 year old leggie who spins it?”

Recalled paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile (2-17) snared two early wickets to reduce Bangladesh to 2-12, before Al Hasan gave the hosts some hope, smashing three sixes and a further five fours in a measured and crucial 52-ball innings.

Defending champions West Indies charged into the World Twenty20 semi-finals with a spectacular 84-run win over Pakistan in a key Super-10 match in Dhaka.

In other matches, the West Indies recovered from a top-order meltdown to post 6-166 after electing to take first strike, before three wickets each by spin twins Samuel Badree and Sunil Narine skittled Pakistan for 82 in 17.5 overs.

The West Indies, who finished second behind unbeaten India in group two, will clash with group one champions Sri Lanka in the first semi-final in Dhaka on Thursday.

India, who won all their four league matches, meet South Africa at the same venue on Friday.

The final will take place in Dhaka on Sunday.

 

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