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England vs Bangladesh, Chittagong, 11th March 2011

England’s defeat to Bangladesh in Chittagong today means that their World Cup fate is no longer in their own hands, and they could soon be heading home even if they beat the West Indies in their last group game. 

Exciting yes, but England’s form in this World Cup has been erratic to say the least. They only just beat the Netherlands, chasing down 292 to win. The tie against India was an incredible match but if we are being ultra-critical, England should have won, had they been able to accelerate towards the end of their innings and during the batting powerplay.
Then came defeat to Ireland and yes, Kevin O’Brien played an incredible knock, but England have quality bowlers who should surely be able to curtail such aggressive batting. Finally the heroic victory against South Africa, heroic only because the batsmen failed so spectacularly to get a decent score and the bowlers somehow managed to save them from certain defeat.
England’s innings against Bangladesh today started badly, with Prior going in near farcical fashion on his return to the top of the order. He fairly fell out of his crease as the Bangladesh wicketkeeper, Mushfiqur Rahim stumped him, only for the wicketkeeper to make doubly sure by replicating the action whilst Prior was still out of his ground to ensure the stumping was successful. Embarrassing. Strauss and Bell followed soon after to similarly soft dismissals.
Morgan has been sorely missed by England thus far in the sub-continent. Along with Trott, he is one of the few top order batsmen England has that can accelerate the run rate when pace is off the ball, and the pair put on a century partnership that one assumed would be sufficient to lead England to victory.
Wrong. England were bowled out, again, with the addition of just 63 more runs after Morgan’s wicket had fell. Alarmingly, a batting line up that looked strong and well ordered at the beginning of this tournament, scoring 300+ or so in their first 3 games, now seems in disarray.
When England triumphed in the Ashes earlier this year, each member of the side were well drilled and knew their role in the team. Conversely, in the 5 games England have played here, we’ve seen Bopara in, then out, then in again, ditto Collingwood, who is now bizarrely batting at 8, Yardy is out again, even though surely everyone knew spinners would be essential in Chittagong, and Shahzad, who has probably been our best bowler so far in the tournament has been in and out as well.
The thing England capitalised on most in Australia was that Australia didn’t seem to know their best team. England no longer know their best ODI team, and are getting more muddled by the game.
Sure the Pietersen injury was a blow, but I thought we’d tried Prior as an opener and it hadn’t worked out? Instead, Prior was given another shot when surely Bell should have been given a chance instead?
Jimmy Anderson’s form is also a real concern. He can’t seem to land the ball in the same place 2 balls running at present, and he sent down an abundance of filth today that culminated in 23 wides being bowled. Those 23 runs could have been the difference today.
Bangladesh did play well though. Kayes hit an impressive 60 to set up the victory, only for Bangladesh’s middle order to try and throw it away. A fine 9th wicket partnership between Mahmudullah and Shafiul Islam finally saw them home, but England contrived to lose this match as much as Bangladesh won it, make no mistake.
England now have only one more game in the group stages, against the West Indies in Chennai next Thursday. It is a potentially vital game for both sides, with the winner taking the final place in the quarter finals. That said, it may be irrelevant, as England may already be out by then.
Before that game, England need to address a few things:
First: Prior cannot open. Put Trott in there if you don’t think Bell can do it, but Prior is a non-starter. He doesn’t have the concentration to open.
Second: We need more than one spinner if we’re to have any hope in this tournament. If Yardy is out of the question, and with KP’s part-time off-spin back home, Tredwell has to be given a chance.
Third: Jimmy needs a rest. 3 round trips to Australia over the winter, a new baby, they guy looks empty, angry, and like he’s had enough. Give Tremlett a go.
Ah, maybe it’s too late already. We came here looking like we were making it up as we went along, and so it still seems now, a far cry from the Ashes.
Get over it already! Ok I will
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