Bangladesh qualified for the knockout phase of the ICC World Cricket Cup for the first time ever when beating England by 15 runs and understandably, the result was greeted by ecstatic scenes from the players and fans both in Adelaide and back home. However, a totally different viewpoint was expressed by many cricketing analysts in England with former legend Ian Botham describing their overall performance in the World Cup as ‘pathetic’.
England had entered the match having claimed only one victory in Pool A after beating a poor Scotland team and had lost their other three games. They were hoping to avoid the embarrassment of equalling their record of just wins in the World Cup of 1996.
Yet Bangladesh were indebted to the batting performances of Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim who scored 103 and 89 respectively as the England bowlers improved from their showing against Sri Lanka by dismissing the opposition for a total of 275-7 in their 50 overs. It was not a particular impressive innings and a target most certainly within the capabilities of the England batsman.
England replied to the Bangladesh innings in fairly confident manner but appeared content to bide their time. Ian Bell contributed a fairly useful 63 runs but one by one, the English wickets began to tumble and when Joe Root was dismissed for 29 runs, the prospect of a Bangladesh victory appeared a near certainty with their opponents struggling on 163-6.
After 38 overs, England had amassed just 173-6 and a dropped catch soon followed. However, just two overs later Jos Buttler decided that caution was no longer necessary and lofted six runs to the boundary with 95 runs required from 10 overs.
For a brief spell in the match, England threatened to surpass the target with Buttler and Chris Woakes increasing the scoring rate as 238 runs were eventually accumulated. It was the dismissal of Buttler by Taskin Ahmed which finally derailed the English innings as Woakes finished unbeaten on 42 runs with none of the tail-end batsmen able to provide any meaningful support, and despite the Bangladesh fielders dropping another vital catch. James Anderson was clean bowled without scoring to complete a memorable victory for Bangladesh.
England must now beat Afghanistan to avoid registering their worst ever World Cup performance but the recriminations have already begun back home with suggestions that insufficient time is devoted to the one day game with more focus on Twenty-20 cricket and the four day format of the County Championship. The inquests will continue for some time ahead but England have scraped past the 300 mark in 50 overs on just two occasions in this competition, and that performance is woefully short of the required standard to compete with the best teams in this World Cup.
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