Bangladesh slay England in nailbiter
A superb rearguard from Shafiul Islam and Mohammed Mahmudullah saw Bangladesh home for a thrilling two-wicket win over England on Friday.
Chasing 226 for victory, Bangladesh looked utterly defeated when a middle-order collapse left them 169/8, but Islam and Mahmudullah summoned up an unlikely win by adding the 57 runs their side needed.
Many of the spectators in Chittagong missed one of the greatest moments in their country’s cricketing history, as hundreds had gone streaming out of the stadium when their side was eight down.
Those fans could be forgiven for thinking the situation hopeless, but they won’t make that mistake again - instead of slumping to inevitable defeat, their team got home with an over to spare!
The result means both sides still have work to do to reach the quarter-finals, but neither is out of the running.
The memorable Bangladesh run chase was a see-saw affair, the initiative swinging back and fourth several times.
Tamim Iqbal’s spritely 38 got the home side off to an ideal start, and there were 52 runs on the board before he was bowled by Tim Bresnan.
Two quick wickets followed and Bangladesh were in trouble at 73/3, but Imrul Kayes and Shakib Al Hasan got the chase back on target with a meaty stand for the fourth wicket.
At 155/3 in the 31st over, Bangladesh appeared to be cruising again, before the batsmen decided to take a needless second run and Kayes was run out at a moment when risks really weren’t required.
It was the start of an almighty collapse, as Bangladesh lost five wickets for 14 runs – a dire turn of events that sent many of the punters streaming for the turnstiles.
Slowly, though, Islam and Mahmudullah got themselves back into the game, helped in part by some ill-discipline from England’s bowlers at the death.
England’s fielding was far better than in their earlier matches, but their bowling was dreadful at times. They bowled far too many on leg stump and beyond, giving away 23 runs in wides and plenty of runs off the bat.
The English did appear to struggle with a wet ball in the evening dew, but they also went through phases when there seemed to be no problem at all. Consequently it is hard to tell how much of a factor this really was – certainly they stopped complaining while they were busy rooting out the Bangladesh middle order!
TRICKY BATTING CONDITIONS
Earlier, Bangladesh’s slow men kept England quiet for much of the day as the visitors were dismissed for 225 with two balls of their innings remaining.
Batting conditions were not to be easy in Chittagong, especially for the side batting first – who would also have to bowl in the dew. Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan was evidently aware of this from the start, as he asked England to bat when he won the toss.
From the very first over it looked as though scoring would be difficult. But England did not make their own lives any easier with a couple of unnecessary dismissals.
New opener Matt Prior’s was the silliest, as he was out stumped in comical fashion with the score on 32. The England keeper was comfortably in his crease as his opposite number took the ball, but then Prior inexplicably wandered out and bowler Abdur Razzak was soon celebrating.
Prior was the first of several batsmen to fall to the Bangladesh slow bowlers, despite the fact that there wasn’t a lot of turn on offer.
Spinners Naeem Islam and Mahmudullah then claimed the wickets of Andrew Strauss and Ian Bell respectively, both batsmen out caught after playing ill-judged shots.
That made it 53/3, but England then rebuilt through a 109-run stand between Jonathan Trott and Eoin Morgan. It was a workmanlike knock from Trott and a positive, quick one from Morgan.
Their efforts got England to 162/3 before both got out in fairly quick succession. First Morgan was spectacularly caught by a forward-diving Kayes for a 72-ball 63, then Trott – in the middle of the batting power play – was caught at mid-off after Al Hasan threw him a wide one.
Trott made 67 off 99, an innings that featured only two boundaries.
His departure made it 182/5 in the 44th over, and the power play was not going well.
When it ended at the 46-over mark, England were 207/6 having also lost Ravi Bopara – they’d made 33/2 in a disappointing power play.
From there the innings unravelled as the lower order chased runs, and England were unable to quite bat out their overs.
The star bowler was Razzak, who posted figures of 2/32 in his 10 overs despite bowling in both power plays. Naeem Islam’s 2/29 in eight overs was also very helpful to the home cause.
That cause now looks much brighter for a team bowled out for 58 a week ago, and Al Hasan’s beaming face spoke volumes after the game.
“At one stage I thought we’d lost it, but Mahmudullah and Islam just showed their character. They were outstanding, I can’t describe how well they batted.
“Conditions suited us bowling first today; it was very hard for England to score runs.
“This means a hell of a lot to the whole country. Hopefully we can kick on from here.”
Strauss, meanwhile, found himself having to explain away another close defeat in England’s hitherto crazy World Cup.
“We wanted to win this game and win it well,” he said. “We struggled with the bat but thought 225 competitive. But we needed to bowl and field well and we didn’t do that.
"Losing those three wickets early on was a big mistake for us, and we didn’t bowl as well as we could have with the new ball.”
Bangladesh - Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Junaid Siddique, Raqibul Hasan, Shakib Al Hasan (capt), Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mohammed Mahmudullah, Naeem Islam, Abdur Razzak, Shafiul Islam, Rubel Hossain
England – Andrew Strauss (capt), Matt Prior (wk), Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara, Paul Collingwood, Tim Bresnan, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Ajmal Shahzad