ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP, 2019
The England captain will be banking on pace to negate Bangladesh’s threat © AFP
One of the more peculiar rivalries, England and Bangladesh.
There was a time, not too long ago, that the hosts wouldn’t even glance in the direction of this perceived full member minnow. Tours to that part of Asia were often a chance to rest senior players – even the captain once. Last time around, they got to choose if they fancied it with security around the region a concern.
Though they may still struggle to make the Big Three to fully honour their space on the touring calendar, Bangladesh can still bloody England’s noses. Beating South Africa in their opening match was only a surprise given the ease with which they disposed of the Proteas. And truthfully, they should have held their nerve against New Zealand to stroll into this game with four points from two.
A surprise package they are not, but they certainly surprised many with their ruthlessness. England, though, have no reason to underestimate a side they know only too well. After all, defeats in 2011 and 2015 formed the basis of much introspection. It was only after defeat in the latter that change was forthcoming, though Eoin Morgan in his pre-match press conference was keen to give a Mahmudullah-inspired Bangladesh little credit for eliciting the changes that followed.
In fact, twice the England captain, who was in charge for the 15-run defeat in Adelaide that ended hopes in the last World Cup, refused to give Saturday’s opponents “credit” for the about-turn ODI cricket has seen in this country. Other than being the better side on that fateful day four years ago, there was little else to it.
Perhaps it was a tactic from Morgan. After all, there are survivors from that game on both sides, with Moeen Ali, Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes and Morgan all in the XI. And after defeat against Pakistan on Monday, the last thing England will want is to distract themselves further with the notion that up next are their bogey team.
Indeed, the gap between these two matches has allowed players to go and shake off the loss and generally chill out. The team have refuted the suggestion they lost their cool in the field against Pakistan but the break has been welcome. Thursday was originally a day off until the forecast showed Friday to be a wash out – which it was – and as such optional training became mandatory. Some still went through their paces at Glamorgan’s indoor school within Sophia Gardens, including Morgan before his press conference.
There’s a surprising amount of bad blood between these two teams, though only in the sense that bad blood actually exists when they’ve met in just 13 ODIs in the last decade. Back in 2016 in Dhaka, an incident in which Jason Roy was “barged”by Tamim Iqbal led to unsavoury post-match scenes. Even Jos Buttler, who was deputising as captain for the tour, was riled enough by other altercations with the Bangladesh side during the second ODI of that series to be pulled up by the ICC and found guilty of “using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting”.
Expect this one to be tasty. Bangladesh have their tails up and will hope the support they drummed up at The Oval for their first two matches will be replicated in Cardiff. The city has a long history of immigration from Bangladesh which contributes to it having one of the oldest Muslim communities in the United Kingdom. Given this is Sophia Garden’s only Bangladesh match, the locals should be out in force.
When: June 8, 2019, 09:30 AM GMT / 10:30 AM LOCAL
Where: Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
What to expect:Generally a high-scoring ground, conditions look set to keep the scoreboard in check. In part, that could be down to a delayed start. It has been raining in Cardiff since Thursday evening, right the way through Friday and, if the forecast stays true, will grace Saturday morning as well. Though there is not much rain scheduled during the match, high winds could see that change very quickly indeed. As a result of the weather neither captain has had a look at the pitch which will mean the exact make-up of playing XIs will only be finalised once the covers are pulled back and the surface for this match sees daylight for the first time in almost two days.
England: The Times reported on Thursday that Adil Rashid will miss out for Liam Plunkett. Certainly England seemed to miss Plunkett’s wicket-taking abilities in the middle overs against Pakistan. Given the joy Sri Lanka’s pace attack had here against Afghanistan, an extra seamer would be handy. There’s also a worry that Rashid’s confidence and shoulder are suffering and, with the shorter straight boundaries, this may be the ideal game to pull him out of the fray.
Probable XI: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood
Bangladesh: Mortaza kept things a little close to the chest on this one. He said there may be changes but that would depend largely on conditions. There may be a chance that Mehedi Hasan makes way for an extra seamer. But then again, why change what looks a successful formula?
Probable XI: Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mohammad Mithun, Mahmudullah, Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mehedi Hasan, Mashrafe Mortaza (c), Mustafizur Rahman
What they said
“All we’ve talked about is sticking to what we do well and looking to our strengths. Before the tournament started we talked about losing games and how we would react and counter that. Everything goes back to focusing on ourselves and our strengths and how we win games of cricket and get the best out of ourselves. It is going to be a difficult game because they’re a good side. I think people under-estimate them. We certainly don’t. They’re a side who have played a lot of cricket, their senior players especially have played a lot of games, more so than our senior players. So they are a threat and hopefully we can play well and overcome them” – Eoin Morgan on the prospect of Bangladesh.
“Well, I don’t think it’s going to help us a lot (beating England twice before) because, you know, even if we lost, it’s not going to help us. So it’s a new, fresh match. Both teams start from the first ball, so it’s very important for both teams to start well. For us, again, I would say yes, we have been beating them the last two World Cups. It doesn’t mean that we will make it happen again the way it did” – Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza on making it a hat-trick of World cup wins over England.