England had made 386 for 6 in its last ODI World Cup game against Bangladesh in 2019. To watch the mismatch again four years later was like watching a Hollywood disaster film when you already knew the ending. But there is a big difference between a humbling defeat and going down fighting. This 137-run loss felt like the latter despite the margin.
As opener Dawid Malan (140, 107b, 16x4, 5x6) nudged Shakib Al Hasan to covers at the HPCA Stadium in Dharamshala and celebrated becoming England’s oldest male World Cup centurion at 36 years and 37 days, he announced the arrival of the Three Lions with their first win of this World Cup on Tuesday.
HIGHLIGHTS - England vs Bangladesh
Defending 364, left-arm seamer Reece Topley, replacing Moeen Ali in the XI, took four wickets, including two in two with the new ball. Topley’s height and natural shape away from left-handers made him a menace.
Bangladesh now needed to focus on building a solid partnership before trying to score aggressively. Litton Das scored a half-century from 38 balls, with seven fours and a six, and added 72 with Mushfiqur Rahim, who also hit a fifty. But Bangladesh’s challenge in the chase was soon cut short when Das was caught behind off Chris Woakes for 72.
It all began innocently in the morning as Malan drove a full ball from Mustafizur Rahman through covers for four in the first over. However, as the innings progressed, England seemed determined to scale the 500-run milestone. Malan’s confidence shone as he reached his maiden ODI World Cup century in 91 balls. Jonny Bairstow contributed significantly in a 115-run opening partnership. Joe Root displayed a variety of shots, including sweeps and reverse sweeps, in his enterprising knock of 82, during which he also became England’s all-time leading run-scorer in World Cups, surpassing Graham Gooch’s record of 897 runs.
Asked to bat first, England exploited favourable conditions with short square boundaries. Bairstow and Malan benefitted from overpitched or short deliveries. The fielders’ initial reluctance to dive on an iffy outfield where the ground staff were seen scattering dry grass over the dusty patches before the start of play perhaps also helped England gather early momentum.
However, from 298/3 in 40 overs, Shoriful Islam’s pace variations, combined with excellent ground fielding, limited England to just 66-6 from the last 10. It still proved too steep a mountain to climb for Bangladesh. With a win being a long shot, its batters looked to play out the 50 overs to protect the net-run-rate and nearly succeeded in that endeavour, falling short by just 10 balls.
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