Minnows hope to upset the mighty Australians

Published: Saturday, April 22, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Dubai:Australian skipper Ricky Ponting would look to recapture the top spot in LG ICC ODI Rankings for batsmen, which he lost to Indian stumper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, when the World Champions start their one-day campaign against Bangladesh in Chittagong tomorrow.

On the other hand, the minnows will be looking to repeat one of the most famous days in their cricket history -- when the Tigers caused a massive upset beating the World Champion Australian team at Cardiff last June -- during the three-match series.

Any optimism Bangladesh feel about the task ahead may be based not only on memories of that famous previous victory but also its own recent ODI form.

The last time Habibul Bashar's side appeared in coloured clothing it beat Kenya 4-0 in March, successes that secured their place in October's Champions Trophy in India, and before that it took one match off Sri Lanka in a three-game series.

Australia's latest ODI action saw it fail to defend 434 against South Africa at The Wanderers and the fact is its players are now nearing the end of a sustained period on the road.

They could be forgiven for allowing thoughts of home and a long break to come to slip onto their collective agenda and that may be another potential reason for Bangladesh to believe it can spring a surprise.

But the gap between the two sides is so huge that even a highly unlikely 3-0 win for the minnows will not cause much harm to Ricky Ponting's team except for a few rating points but loss for Bangladesh would mean dropping one valuable rating point to 23.

The rankings reward sides that punch above their weight and beat opponents above them in the table and so if Bangladesh wins one of the three matches its rating will improve by two points to 26 while Australia's will drop to 130.

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