Sports

Bangladesh out to be England’s bogey team again

ICC Cricket World Cup 2023

Dharamsala is so much about the altitude, and one of the best panoramic views of snow-capped mountains a cricket stadium can offer. Not that England can afford to pause and admire it too much. The defending champions are at venue No.2 of 8 in a World Cup with a hectic travel schedule and expectations of going all the way.

The conditions in Ahmedabad clipped their enormous white-ball wings and gave them an early jolt, but Dharamsala should be kinder. At this venue 1457 metres above sea level, the ball flies. If a crashing and burning England side could push themselves to 282 in Ahmedabad, imagine what a slightly more efficient effort could get them in Dharamsala.

Bangladesh certainly wouldn’t want to. A slow pitch and Afghanistan’s naivety played their part, but Shakib Al Hasan’s side did a lot of things right to give their World Cup campaign a clinical start. The three-pace, two-spin combination worked, as did many of Shakib’s on-field calls of orchestrating them, which should fill Bangladesh with the hope of becoming the earliest giant-killers of the tournament on Tuesday.

Should the pitch – a different one for this game – play slow, Bangladesh have the weaponry to box England in and be their bogey team again. Such a result will not have the impact it did in 2015, when England were pushed to a soul-searching expedition in the format, but two defeats in two could still be nauseating for a pre-tournament favourite. And that won’t be because of the altitude.

When:

England vs Bangladesh, October 10, 10:30 AM IST

Where:

HPCA stadium, Dharamsala

What to expect: Hot day, new pitch and more focus on the ‘average’ outfield. Afghanistan weren’t happy with it but the England game will go on.

As for the pitch, England will hope the swap leads them to a surface that Liam Livingstone played on in the IPL in May, where he smashed nine sixes in the space of 48 deliveries.

Teams

England:

Ben Stokes has faced throwdowns in the last two days as well as local spinners on Monday, but hasn’t looked fully fit and comfortable on both occasions. Jos Buttler said Stokes was ‘probably unlikely’ for the Bangladesh game. Harry Brook, who was first to bat in the nets on the eve of the game, should keep his spot.

Tactics & Strategy:Liam Livingstone has said England will double down on their white-ball approach having lost their World Cup opener. Dawid Malan, Jos Buttler and Mooen Ali spent a lot of their time on Monday giving the charge to the local spinners summoned to bowl at the nets. Expect a lot of proactive batting against Shakib & co.

Probable XI:

Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Moeen Ali, Jos Buttler (c & wk), Liam Livingstone, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood

Bangladesh:

In anticipation of another spin-friendly track, Bangladesh could be tempted to bring in a third spinner – Nasum Ahmed or Mahedi Hasan – for Mahmudullah. It also won’t hurt to have a genuine sixth bowling option against the batting might of England.

Tactics & Strategy:

Mehidy Hasan Miraz could be in for an early bowling shift in order to contain left-handed opener Dawid Malan, who he has a good record against in this format. Bangladesh will rely heavily on their spinners to choke England through the middle but they’ll need their quicks to open and close out the innings well. Bangladesh appear to be in good hands in that regard as Shoriful Islam averages 11.88 in the first PowerPlay (1-10 overs) this year while Taskin Ahmed and Mustafizur Rahman have been experts at the death (41-50 overs) – with averages of 12.14 and 14.08 respectively.

Probable XI: Tanzid Tamim, Litton Das, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Shakib Al Hasan (c), Towhid Hridoy, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah/Nasum Ahmed, Taskin Ahmed, Shoriful Islam, Mustafizur Rahman

Did you know:

– Shakib Al Hasan has 20 wickets in 17 ODIs against England. Adil Rashid has 19 in 7 against Bangladesh.

– Jos Buttler averages 48.12 in ODIs against Bangladesh, with five fifties in 8 innings.

– Najmul Hossain Shanto averages 64.88 in the middle overs (11-40 overs) in ODIs this year.

What they said:

“It’s good for us to have had a couple of really good days in preparation. We’re desperate to get out and put in a good performance. We know we didn’t play as well in the last game and we’re always desperate to put that right, both individually and as a team.” – Jos Buttler.

“To be honest, 10 out of 10 [rating for Shakib and Mehidy Hasan’s bowling]. They read the pitch well. They analysed which line and length they needed to bowl. And they had a very attacking field setting as well. I’m 100% happy with how they bowled actually.” – Bangladesh spin bowling coach Rangana Herath

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