It was a great victory by Bangladesh, who played a sensible, solid game to beat England. Their batting and bowling was disciplined throughout. It looked like the batting lost a bit of momentum in the Powerplay as Mushfiqur Rahim was careful to stay at the crease to help Mahmudullah to his century, but even with that they scored at eight runs an over. And when it came to the bowling, the fact that they didn’t bowl a single wide showed how they made England work for their runs.
England’s tactics surprised me. Say what you will about form and rankings, this is a mental game and England, in putting Bangladesh in on a good wicket gave Bangladesh the advantage. In a must-win game, chasing is always more difficult.
James Anderson and Stuart Broad did bowl with very good pace and direction and several inside-edges could have gone their way. Nevertheless, with short boundaries on both sides it was a 300 plus wicket and Bangladesh did well to recover after losing the early wickets of Imrul Kayes and Tamim Iqbal. Soumya Sarkar looked positive from the start and will be hoping to convert his form into big runs.
Mahmudullah has been very consistent and successful at number four with a solid technique and good temperament. Sometimes he forgets to move his feet when driving to the off but he has good shot selection and his first century was much deserved. England were a spinner short, with Moeen Ali not having any support.
When there’s so much planning and counter-planning these days, it’s a very good tactic to try an occasional bowler for an over or two just to make the batsmen have to rethink. England’s use of the cross-seam made it difficult for the batsmen but the strike was regularly rotated even when the boundaries didn’t come. I thought Mashrafe Mortaza handled the Bangladesh attack very well with some bowling changes that paid off. Mashrafe’s use of Shakib Al Hasan and his performance always kept England in check. It’s always a good sign of team spirit when run-outs happen and Moeen Ali’s gifting away of his wicket to a needless run-out really got Bangladesh believing they could win.
There was a time when Ian Bell and Alex Hales were together that the game looked to be moving away from Bangladesh, but Bangladesh took regular wickets and Bell’s dismissal by Rubel was the turning point. When an out of form Eoin Morgan went to a very good catch on the boundary by Shakib in the same over, Rubel’s pace forcing the blind hook, the game was Bangladesh’s to win. Even with that it was close, Bangladesh fielded well and kept on pressing and they were the better side. It’s astonishing to think that we are in the second half of a World Cup without England, but that’s what happens when your players don’t play to their potential.
Bangladesh’s certainly have and considering they won the game with neither Tamim nor Shakib contributing with the bats, shows that they have a lot to offer. New Zealand is next, and after that the quarter-finals. Bangladesh can carry this positivity forward.
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