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Lions cornered Tigers in Lion’s den

Lions cornered Tigers in Lions denSaleque Sufi
ICC Champions Trophy 2017 – Match one Played in Oval on 1 June 2017

England Vs Bangladesh

Bangladesh 305 / 6 (Tamim Iqbal 128, Mushfiqur Rahim 79, Soumya Sarkar 28, Sabbir Rahman 24, Liam Plunket 4/59) lost to England 308/2 in 47.2 overs ( JE Root 133* , AD Hales 95 , EJG Morgan 75* , Sabbir Rahman 1/13 , Mashrafe Bin Mortaza 1/56) by 8 wickets.

Also Read - England face anxious Woakes wait

The much awaited ICC Champions Trophy, the showcase event of 8 top raked ICC teams got off to a great start with host England setting the record of highest ever run chase in tournament’s history in front of a packed oval ground.

Bengal Tigers could set a target of 306 for English Lions. A far better Lion unit, displaying wonderful brand of matured cricket, overhauled the target losing only 2 wickets.

Wondering how ODI cricket has changed since last ICC world cup 2015 under influence of T20 cricket worldwide. These days’ scores over 300 are regularly chased. Yesterday at half way through all TV analysts had a feeling that Bangladesh was at least 20 runs short even after posting 305/6.

The way England cruised over the target more than justified the feeling. Off course Bangladeshi bowlers hardly bowled at right channels. For an unbalanced bowling unit Bangladesh juggled with part timers as main weapons Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain and especially Shakib Al Hasan miserably failed to create any impression.

What a sharp contrast and inconsistency in Bangladesh performance in a weeks’ time. In practice match against Pakistan Bangladesh lost after scoring 341 and they were crushed again by India losing by 240 runs getting bundled out for 84 and on the inaugural match against the home side lost by 8 wickets even after scoring 305.

One may wonder whether it is the same Bangladesh team that appeared in all three matches. Critics may say and write many things. But this Bangladesh after their awful bowling in Oval should not expect turning table on Australia or New Zealand either unless there is huge improvement all round.

Bangladeshis all over the world in general and in London in particular off course were proud witness of green and red flags flying across the ground and “Amar Sonar Bangla ameey tomay Bhalobasheey…………” being heard as the tournament kicked off. The full gallery had almost 50% full throat cheering Bangladeshi admirers gathered from all over the world.

Formidable English team, at home, this time, is among the tournaments favourites mainly for it’s high quality batting all the way till the lower middle order. Bangladesh however proved to be a bogey team for England in recent ICC tournaments.

However, on a bright sunny day, on a considerably sporting wicket, after winning the toss Morgan put Bangladesh to bat. On the same ground only three days before Bangladeshi batsmen were found groping in the dark against Kumar, Yadav and Sami.

That trauma led Bangladesh play with an extra batsman at the expense of 5th bowler. Against a very strong batting side perhaps that was not a good decision to start with. Tamim and Soumya displayed extra caution against early movement of Woakes and Wood. In first 5 over Bangladesh moved at snails pace for understandable reasons.

The collapse of practice match against India kept haunting them. Woakes left the ground limping. Run started flowing from Tamim and Soumya as soon as Ball replaced Woakes. When Soumya got out in the 12th over Bangladesh could reach 56.

In came Tamim’s Test opening partner Imrul Kayes taken as additional caution against top order collapse. However, his stay was brief. But Kayes did not waste balls scoring 19 in 20 deliveries. Tamim got momentum by that time and was timing his stroke sweetly all around.

Mushfiqur looked in great touch right from the outset. He kept the score board ticking with sharp singles and occasional classic boundaries. Tamim appeared in his belligerent best. Runs started flowing thick and fast. Many thought England also missed a trick not playing Leg Spinner Adil Rashid.

Moreover, injury to Woakes made Morgan resorting to plan B. The third wicket partnership between Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim Iqbal set new record of 166 in Champions trophy eclipsing 165 scored by Upal Tharanga and Kumara Sangrakara against Zimbabwe in 2006.

Tamim went on scoring the first century of 2017 version of the tournament. He played many characteristic savage cuts, pulls and down the wicket over the top aggressive strokes setting the gallery on fire. Mushfiqur also matched him stroke for stroke. But when one of them at least should have stayed till the end over excitement got the better of them.

Tamim changed his bat and the very first ball he mistimed a stroke and was caught by Buttler of Plunkett behind the wicket scoring a very impressive 128. If he lasted another 5 overs till the end it could make hell lot of difference.

Mushfiqur as an experienced talented batsman should have read the match situation better. With Tamim gone, his stay was essential. The very next ball he wanted to strike out of the ground getting caught at deep long on. To the relief of Morgan two new batsmen Shakib Al Hasan and Sabbir Rahman had little time to have feel of the wicket.

Moreover, sending out of form Shakib ahead of inform Sabbir, Mahmudullah and Mosaddeq was also not proper. Bangladesh finished with 305/6 mainly due to some lusty hitting of Sabbir. Mahmudullah and Mosaddeq could play only 9 deliveries in between them. 305 appeared at least 20-25 runs short. If only Tamim or Mushfiqur could stay till the end even 350 was within reach.

For defending below par score against strong English batting Bangladesh required bowling at right channel and take some early wickets. But excepting war horse Mashrafe Bin Mortaza bowling some teasing deliveries on right channel all other bowlers struggled.

Shakib is so much relied for his past proven record seems to have lost his penetration. Out of form Jason Roy fell to a spectacular flying catch by Mustafiz off Mashrafe . That remained the only success for Bangladesh as Root and Hales in the 2nd wicket partnership all thrown to them by Bangladesh bowlers as friendly fires.

They moved towards the target in a very professional manner never letting the asking run rate growing big. Hales fell at 95 trying to strike part time leg spinner Sabbir out of the park. Root went on and with his captain Morgan in silky touch overhauled the target in the 48th over. The unbroken partnership produced 143.

Earlier Hales and Root also put together 159 runs in the second wicket partnership. Root remained unbeaten on 133 and Morgan was not out on 75. A catch by Tamim Iqbal of Eoin Morgan was disallowed in the deep. England won deservedly being much superior side on the day.

Bangladesh must take lesson from the way Root batted . It is always expected that set batsmen would try staying till the end as it is not easy for a new batsman striking straight away in crunch time.

We think Bangladesh fans expected a much better fight from the team in defending. But Mashrafe with one bowler short and his main weapons Mustafiz, Rubel and Shakib not delivering, lost ideas. We are not sure why Mehedi Hasan Miraz who troubled all English batsmen in the past series and who is no mug with the bat was not played.

What the additional batsman theory delivered? Why not Mahmudullah promoted to number three and Miraz accommodated in the side? Did Kayes look good against India? Accepted that the ground was smaller in one side. But he could be cleverly used from the other end.

Ace all-rounder Shakib is neither batting well nor bowling. His utility to the team has become marginal. Is he over the hill? Players like him is always expected to do something either with the ball or the bat. We also could not make out why inform and proven all-rounder Nasir Hossain was not included in the squad. He could solve the problem of late order batting drought and bowl tight wicket taking overs. With two very difficult matches to go Bangladesh mission to move further is virtually over.

Nevertheless, Bangladesh rewrote some pages in the record book. 305 is highest score against England in Champions trophy. 165 runs third wicket partnership between Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim is the highest partnership. Tamim now has the glory of scoring centuries against England in three different venues and most importantly Lords and Oval. Brave boy, go ahead.

Tamim and Mushfiqur along with Mashrafe and Mahmudullah were shown the door of safe exit only few days back in Colombo.

England is firm favorite. With a very strong batting line up and good attack inclusive of course Adil Rashid they may go all the way through. Watch out Australia playing New Zealand today.

Bangladesh got defeated but definitely not disgraced .

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