Bangladesh and its trump cards against England

Several of Bangladesh's players in World Cup 2019 featured in the victories over England in the 2011 and 2015 editions.

Mahmudullah celebrates his century against England in Adelaide in the World Cup 2015 match.   -  REUTERS

Eight years ago, the Thames-familiar Brits were made to breathe in the wind that passes through one side of the Karnaphuli river in Chattogram — the port city of Bangladesh carrying a history of folk tales. They choked on the cricket ground, losing a World Cup match to the host nation by two wickets in 2011.

Four years later, the spirits from the haunted Foy’s Lake in the city followed the Englishmen to Adelaide in Australia. This time, Rubel Hossain ran through England causing untimely shivers in the Australian summer; Bangladesh won by 15 runs.

Cut to 2019, Bangladesh is on a high after a victory over South Africa and a near-win against New Zealand. The positive spirits — Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mashrafe Mortaza, Mahmudullah, Rubel Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar — still remain; they are the men who know how to beat England in a World Cup game.

The ‘new’ England

It is challenging, for this isn’t the side that gasped for breath against the Rubels and Mortazas. Six players, from England's playing XI of 2015, aren’t part of the home World Cup.

Ian Bell only plays County Cricket these days, Alex Hales was withdrawn from the Cup squad following his recreational drug use, James Anderson and Stuart Broad have turned Test specialists, while Chris Jordan is a T20I-only bowler. A heart ailment cut-short James Taylor's career.

The ‘new’ England is led by the ‘go for the kill’ instinct but it is mostly restricted to the batting part of it. But the side definitely flaunts all-rounders like ready-to-heat meat in a departmental store. They are ready, you just need to include them in the XI.

The list starts with Jonny Bairstow (who can keep wickets), Joe Root (bat/off-break), Moeen Ali (bat/off-break), Chris Woakes (bat/seam), Ben Stokes (bat/seam), Jofra Archer (bat/seam) and wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler.

Seam bowler Liam Plunkett and leggie Adil Rashid can bat too. Both have hundreds at the first-class level.

A stronger Bangladesh

Prior to the World Cup, Bangladesh recorded its first win in an ODI tournament final — the Tri-Nation series — in Ireland.

The Tigers, as they are called, have roared against higher-ranked teams in the world. They are a much improved side, and Cardiff has to be one of their favourite grounds. In 2005, Bangladesh had beaten the Aussies in the NatWest ODI tournament on this ground. In 2017, Shakib and Mahmudullah hit centuries to take Bangladesh home against New Zealand in the Champions Trophy.

Rubel and Sabbir featured in the warm-ups, but are yet to play in the main fixtures.

At the time of publishing this story, England was comfortably-placed at 202/1 (31 overs); follow the live scores and updates from the match in Cardiff.

World Cup 2019, Live scores and updates, England vs Bangladesh