Pune: Having sealed a semifinal berth, a dominant Australia will look to continue their rampaging run when they face a Shakib Al Hasan-less Bangladesh in their final assignment before the knockout stage of the World Cup here on Saturday.
The five-time champions have been simply unstoppable, stream-rolling any team that has come their way in the last six meetings, while Bangladesh suffered the ignominy of being the first team to be eliminated from the ongoing showpiece.
Pat Cummins and Co. stormed into the semifinals on the back of one of the greatest ODI innings played by Glenn Maxwell. The all-rounder battled cramps to smash an unbeaten 201 off 128 balls to lift Australia from a precarious 91 for seven to the victory target of 292 against Afghanistan.
Bangladesh, on the other hand, just about managed to keep their 2025 Champions Trophy qualification hopes alive with a three-wicket win over Sri Lanka in an ill-tempered game which was overshadowed by the contentious 'timed-out' dismissal of Angelo Mathews.
The top eight teams, including hosts Pakistan, will make the cut for the 2025 event and eighth-placed Bangladesh will be desperate to win to hold on to their position inside top 8 in the standings.
Skipper Shakib was the top performer in their last match as he snapped two wickets, ignited the spirit of cricket debate by appealing against Mathews and then scored a 65-ball 82 to earn Bangladesh's second win in the tournament.
However, he has been ruled out of the their last game with a fractured left index finger, leaving Bangladesh's bowling depleted. Anamul Haque has been called up for the final match.
Najmul Hossain Shanto will take over the captaincy and it will be an tall task for him to inspire Bangladesh to stop Australia, who are riding high on their batting might.
If opener David Warner has been their most prolific run-getter with 446 runs from eight innings, number 6 batter Maxwell has hammered 397 runs which includes the fastest ODI hundred in World Cup and a double ton.
Opener Travis Head hit a century on his return, while Mitchell Marsh has a fifty and hundred to his name but their middle order has caved in some times. A case in point being their collapse against Afghanistan. The Bangladesh bowlers will need to exploit that when they face off on Saturday.
Shoriful Islam and Mehidy Hasan Miraz will have to shoulder the responsibility of the bowling. Young Tanzim Hasan Sakib had claimed three wickets but conceded 80 runs in his quota of 10 overs on World Cup debut against Sri Lanka.
Among batters, the onus will be on Litton Das and Shanto to give them a good start, while Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim will need to produce the goods at the lower order.
Shanto returned to form with a 90 off 101 in their last match and will hope to be the fulcrum around which the team's batting revolves.
It won't be easy as they will have to first negotiate the pace duo of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, while how they fare against the spin of Adam Zampa in the middle overs will be the key.
With 20 wickets including three four-wicket hauls, Zampa has often squeezed the life out of the opposition batting unit and remains the biggest threat.
Australia possess a dominating 19-1 record against Bangladesh in 21 ODIs and with a semifinal already assured, Cummins and Co. look favourite to seal their seventh win and carry the momentum into the knockout stage.
Squads: Bangladesh: Litton Das (wk), Tanzid Hasan Tamim, Najmul Hossain Shanto (C), Tawhid Hridoy, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah Riyad, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Nasum Ahmed, Mahedi Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Hasan Mahmud, Shoriful Islam, Tanzim Hasan Sakib, Anamul Haque.
Australia: Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith, Alex Carey (wk), Josh Inglis (wk), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Starc.
Match starts at 10:30 am.