BRISBANE - It takes more than the threat of storm-force rain and wind to deter a committed fan from turning up to watch a cricket match. So it was perhaps no surprise to see a hardy group of spectators, sheltered beneath umbrellas and ponchos, huddling outside Brisbane's Gabba ground an hour before the scheduled start of the World Cup Pool A clash between co-hosts Australia and Bangladesh on Saturday.

"I've come all the way from Sydney with my three children, including my six-month-old girl, to watch Bangladesh so I hope we see some cricket," Farhana Zaman told AFP. "I'm from Bangladesh but I've lived in Sydney for 13 years. I think we have a 50-50 chance in the game, I'm hopeful."

Fellow Bangladesh fan Mohammad Masudshrurka had travelled from Gold Coast and was looking forward to seeing the Tigers play for the first time. "I've never seen Bangladesh play and I've been planning for this match with my friends for almost a year," he said.

Despite the miserable weather, local Australian fan Darren Lane insisted he was keen just to see some cricket regardless of the return to action of skipper Michael Clarke "I think we'll see some cricket today. If this rain pushes through within the next hour the Gabba has great drainage so we'll get a game," Lane told AFP. "I don't really care about seeing Michael Clarke -- he's old and he's injury prone. Give Steve Smith a go as captain."

Despite the optimism of fans, commentators were not so optimistic. "It's absolutely banging it down here in Brisbane," tweeted former England spinner turned broadcaster Graeme Swann. "No play tonight unless it's a swimming competition I reckon," he added.

Forecasters are predicting the remnants of ex-Tropical Cyclone Marcia, which struck Queensland, will clear the greater Brisbane area by mid-afternoon, giving a slight hope that the game will still go ahead. The match is scheduled to begin at 1:30pm Brisbane time (0330 GMT), but while a prompt start seems impossible a shortened form of the match could go ahead if the weather clears. Organisers have until 6:00pm to make a start, with a 20-over a side contest the minimum requirement to constitute a match.

However, any start would have to depend on the ground staff's ability to make the surface playable after two days of heavy rain. There is a belief that the shorter the match, the greater Bangladesh's chances of springing a surprise. But Tigers captain Mashrafe Mortaza, a member of the Bangladesh side that beat Australia in a one-day international in Cardiff in 2005 in one of the all-time great upsets, didn't quite see it that way.

"It is difficult to say right now," Mortaza said. "A 20 overs per side match, Australia are even better, I think. But also, you don't know how many overs you're going to play. So it is also difficult to pick the right team as well," he added. The conditions have also put in doubt Clarke's return from a hamstring injury, which needed surgery after the first Test against India in Adelaide in early December.

Head groundsman Kevin Mitchell told reporters on Friday that he doubted whether a game would be able to go ahead due to the amount of rain that has fallen in Brisbane since Thursday night. But speaking on Brisbane radio on Saturday morning, a spokesperson for the Bureau of Meteorology said once the tropical low passed through Brisbane there was clear sky behind it.