Cricket World Cup 2015

Cyclone Marcia threatens Clarke return

2015-02-20 08:50
Michael Clarke (AFP)

Brisbane - Australia's plan to bring back skipper Michael Clarke in their second World Cup match against Bangladesh in Brisbane on Saturday could be blown off course by the tropical cyclone threatening the Queensland coast.

Clarke missed Australia's 111-run thrashing of old rivals England in Melbourne last weekend as he continued his recovery from a latest bout of hamstring trouble.

Tournament co-hosts Australia's emphatic victory in the Pool A opener underlined their status as one of the favourites to win the World Cup and the plan had always been to bring Clarke back for the Bangladesh match.

But with forecasters predicting the power of Tropical Cyclone Marcia could lead to a 70 percent chance of rain, and even the possibility of thunderstorms, the teams may be kept in the pavilion.

Teams are not obliged to confirm their XI until the toss and the uncertainty over the weather has led four-time world champions Australia, who've been forced to train indoors, to ponder the make-up of their team.

A minimum of 20 overs per side are needed to constitute a match and Australia, with Bangladesh thought to be particularly vulnerable against high-class fast bowling, may recall Pat Cummins to form a four-man pace attack with Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood on what is usually a lively Gabba pitch.

"Yeah, there is a possibility," said Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin. "But it's hard to give you a team or what we are thinking because we are so unsure on what is going to happen with the weather and when they pull the covers up."

However, Haddin confirmed Clarke would, weather permitting, feature this weekend.

"This was the plan for Michael all along, for him to be right for this game," he said.

George Bailey has long been tipped to make way for Clarke but the stand-in skipper did his best to cloud the issue with a fifty against England and some pundits have suggested the axe should fall on Shane Watson instead after the all-rounder made a duck at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Australia, provided the rain holds off, will be overwhelming favourites to make it 19 wins from 20 ODIs against Bangladesh.

But Clarke and Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza both played when the Tigers turned the tables on the Aussies with a stunning five-wicket win in Cardiff nine years ago - one of the greatest cricket upsets.

Bangladesh launched their World Cup campaign with a 105-run win over newcomers Afghanistan in Canberra in Wednesday.

However, the way in which they were reduced to 119 for four by the debutants did not augur well for Bangladesh's chances in Brisbane.

Nevertheless, Mushfiqur Rahim - who top-scored with 71 in Bangladesh's innings of 267 against Afghanistan - insisted victory this weekend was not beyond his side.

"Australia are probably the No 1 team at the moment the way they are playing, so it's not going to be easy but it won't be impossible either," Mushfiqur said.

"In the one-day game anyone can win on the day. Ireland beat the West Indies (at this World Cup). Even with a big chase and they did it with 40 balls remaining, so anyone can win in this game.

"Obviously, going into the weekend's match everyone is expecting Australia will win easily, so hopefully we have something to say about that and all the boys are really geared up for that match."

Read more on:    bangladesh  |  australia  |  cwc 2015  |  michael clarke  |  cricket

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