An uphill task for Bangladesh against England
Chittagong: Having suffered defeats against India and West Indies, Bangladesh face an uphill task against the injury-hit England in a make-or-break Group B match here on Friday knowing well that a loss would end their hope of making the last-eight stage of the cricket World Cup.
The co-hosts, who have managed to register just one win from three matches, have very little chance of sustaining their World Cup campaign as their group consists of India, South Africa and the West Indies, besides England.
Going into tomorrow`s game, the Tigers would first need to recover from the debacle against the West Indies in their last match, where they were bundled out for their lowest one-day total of 58 in Dhaka last Friday, losing the match by nine wickets in the first session itself.
Even the Bangladeshi batsmen seem to have lost rhythm after their brave start to the World Cup campaign when they replied with a 283 for nine during their unsuccessful chase against India`s 370 for four.
And while opener Tamim Iqbal and captain Shakib Al Hasan are the only batsmen to have scored fifties in the mega-event so far, spinner Abdur Razzak has managed to claim just one wicket in three games, giving away 112 runs, left-arm spinner Shakib has taken only three and off-break bowler Naeem Islam two.
However, there is no denying that Bangladesh are a force to reckon with on the spin-friendly tracks in their own backyard, so if they are able to lift themselves before the crucial game tomorrow, they may just give England a run for their money.
In fact, the eighth-ranked ODI side are now left with little choice but to play good cricket against the English in order to not just keep their chances of qualifying in the knockout stage alive, but also to calm down millions of their fans who are angry and frustrated at their team`s show.
England, on the other hand, although start as favourites on papers, are also struggling after losing their key batsman Kevin Pietersen and their reliable fast bowler Stuart Broad for the rest of the tournament due to injuries.
Even though the replacements in left-handed batsman Eoin Morgan and pacer Chris Tremlett are both available for tomorrow`s tie, they are yet to get acclimatised with the sub-continental conditions.
So, England would obviously have to re-think their strategy and adopt a new approach for the rest of the matches in the competition.
England first task would be to decide on the opening combination in the absence of Pietersen, with either Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara or wicketkeeper Matt Prior likely to give captain Andrew Strauss company at the top of the order.
Nonetheless, the English would definitely like to take inspiration from their thrilling six-run victory over South Africa in their last encounter after their dismal loss to minnows Ireland.
England, however, are not likely to face too much resistance from the minnows, whom they have beaten 13 times in 14 One-day Internationals they have played.
In fact, England have won all of their six matches against the hosts on Bangladeshi soil, the last three in March last year.
They would certainly be keen to pull off a victory tomorrow as a win against Bangladesh would mean that England qualify for the knockout stage if the West Indies outplay Ireland in Mohali earlier tomorrow.
England (From): Andrew Strauss (capt), James Anderson, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Paul Collingwood, Matt Prior (wicketkeeper), Ajmal Shahzad, Graeme Swann, James Tredwell, Jonathan Trott, Luke Wright, Michael Yardy, Eoin Morgan and Chris Tremlett.
Ireland (From): William Porterfield (capt), Andre Botha, Alex Cusack, Niall O`Brien, Kevin O`Brien, George Dockrell, Trent Johnston, Nigel Jones, John Mooney, Boyd Rankin, Paul Stirling, Albert van der Merwe, Gary Wilson, Andrew White, Ed Joyce.
Match starts: 1430 hrs (IST)