After England’s victory against the strong South African side earlier in the week, I felt much more confident about the prospects of qualification from group 2 of the Cricket World Cup, that was untill todays game against the developing cricketing nation of Bangladesh. The co-hosts stunned a seemingly complacent England side with a two wicket victory, with an over to spare.
England had to win to ensure qualification from the group, but they had to do so without Kevin Pietersen (Hernia) and Stuart Broad. Andrew Strauss’ men were put into bat by opposing captain Shakhib Al-Hasan and got off to a faltering start, with replacement opener Matt Prior, Captain Strauss and Ian Bell falling for few runs, leaving the side 53 for 3 off of 16 overs. This left form Batsman Johnathan Trott (67) and Pietersen’s replacement, Eoin Morgan (63), to attempt to rebuild the innings.
When Morgan was the fourth man to fall, in the 39th over, England were 162 for 4 and looked on course to post a score of 250 off of their 50 overs. Bangladesh had other ideas though…
They quickly dismissed the settled Trott, which lead to a flurry of wickets and saw England be bowled out for 225, without finishing their fifty overs. All of the Bangladeshi bowlers featured well, all taking at least one wicket and none if them conceding more than a run a ball.
Setting off chasing what looked like a below par total, the hosts opening batsman Tamim Iqbal was in explosive form, dominating the first 8 overs, smashing 38 from 26 balls, including 5 boundaries, before Bresnan bowled the expansive opener. Siddique and Raquibul Hasan were removed without too much damage, while captain Shakhib and opening batsman Kayes continued to sensibly build in the middle overs.
A mini-collapse saw the hosts lose 5 wickets for 14 runs and left Mahmudullah and number ten batsman Shafiul Islam at the crease, requiring 58 runs from the last two wickets. The pair made England’s bowlers looks sloppy and in-effective, knocking off the runs with an over to spare. England’s sloppy bowling, including a huge 23 wides, without doubt cost them this match, but Bangladesh played well and piled on the pressure to force the mistakes. England certainly don’t look like the same side that retained the Ashes with such ease.
We have seen almost a reversal of the form we expected from England in this World Cup thus far, beating and tieing with the best teams in the group and struggling against the so-called “minnows”. It is hard to deny that England are producing by ar the most interesting games of the cup so far, so it would be a shame to see them not qualify for the latter stages.
They will need to beat the West Indies on Thursday and hope other results go in their favour if they have any chance of qualifying.
See BBC Sport website for highlights and to see the match report in full.