The last time Bangladesh played England was at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong on March 11, 2011. And that was another World Cup game, very similar to the match no.33 of the ongoing CWC2015. For home fans, it was a night they have never forgotten. Mahmudullah, like yesterday, was the architect of that victory as well. The only difference was that Bangladesh had been chasing the victory target rather than defending one. Mahmullah had the company of Shaiful Islam in that game and they won that emotional encounter with one over to spare. On March 09, 2015, they bowled out England with one over and three balls left and stormed into the quarterfinals of the 2015 World Cup, much to the discomfiture of England’s cricket managers. That England’s miserable performance yesterday resulted in yet another humiliation by Bangladesh is the biggest coincidence of the World Cup history. With that loss and an eminently forgettable World Cup display, England will be in a hurry to catch the next flight back home but they have to endure some more. They still need to play their last league match against Afghanistan. When the match began at Adelaide in the morning, England bowled well and kept Bangladesh on a tight leash with James Anderson’s fiery spell accounting for an opener and the one-drop batsman by third over. But then they eased the pressure, knowing very well that World Cup games are all about the pressure of coping and finding ways and means to pressurize the opposition. But England allowed Soumya Sarkar, Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur rahim to get away and create dangerous partnerships. When Mahmudullah got out after scoring 103, Bangladesh had progressed to 240/5 in 46th over. The rest of Bangladeshis added another 35 to finish with 275/7 in 50 overs. 276 was not a great target but England’s batting flunked and they wrote the script of their own downfall to lose the game by 15 runs. With that, England made a dismal exit from the World Cup. For Bangladesh though, it was the first time that they have entered the knock-out stages of a major tournament.
England won the toss and strangely opted to field in a tournament, where setting high targets has become a norm. The fall of two quick wickets by 3rd over gave a false sense of propriety to the England captain about his decision. Bangladesh were unruffled and they created two solid stands; 86 for the third wicket and 141 for the fifth. Both these partnerships had the stamp of Mahmudullah’s authoritative and forceful batting, which was complimented first by Soumya Sarkar and then by Mushfiqur Rahim. Sarkar scored a 52-ball 40 against the new-ball swingers from Anderson, Broad and Jordan but Rahim accelerated with a 77-ball 89. On the other end, Mahmudullah frustrated England’s bowlers and refused to get out. When Mahmudullah finally departed in the 46th over, he had amassed 103 off 138 balls. Rahim carried on until the 48th over and Bangladesh reached a competitive 275/7 in 50 overs.
Chasing 276 in the current World Cup has been considered easy but England were possibly weighed down by the possibility of elimination. The start was not all that bad as Moeen Ali and Ian Bell posted 43 by 8th over, before Ali was unfortunately run out. Bell was joined by Alex Hales and though the two of them carved out a good 54-run partnership, the scoring rate dipped. Hales was the first to go after making 27 off 34 balls but England lost three more wickets by 30th over to totter at 132/5. Bell made 63 off 82, skipper Morgan collected another duck and James Taylor was out for 1. Joe Root kept going at the other end but his labored 47-ball 29 didn’t show the urgency of reaching some target. The only batsman, who looked serious, was Jos Buttler but when he fell for a 52-ball 65 in 46th over, it was left to tail-enders to finish the job for England. With Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad going merrily, England looked like cruising home at the start of the 48th, when 16 were needed. But Rubel Hossain came up with two lovely deliveries to bowl out Broad and Anderson and carve out a memorable 15-run victory for Bangladesh. Soon afterwards, the Bangla players hugged each other as ecstatic supporters at Adelaide erupted in rapturous celebrations.