Bangladesh’s captain, Shakib Al Hasan, believes his team is gelling well in the build-up to the 2011 World Cup in exactly 12 months’ time, and regards the final ODI against England in Chittagong as an opportunity to lay down a significant marker at a venue where the two teams are set to meet again in the group stages of the tournament.
On March 11 next year, England will return to Chittagong for their fifth match of the World Cup, and the showdown could potentially prove crucial to their prospects of reaching the quarter-final knock-out stages, given that India and South Africa are among their early opponents. And, having been pushed to the brink in the decisive second ODI in Mirpur on Tuesday, England can expect another trial by spin on Friday, with Bangladesh set to name an unchanged side on a ground that has offered appreciable turn in the past.
“Hopefully by the World Cup we will be a very good team,” Shakib told Cricinfo. “We understand our game very well now, and we know what kind of shots we can play and what type of game we have to play. Our mindset is good because there’s no fear, every time a guy goes out he is thinking he has to step up for the team. It’s not about one person standing up, it’s about a team effort.”
Although the series has now gone, Bangladesh’s quest for a maiden victory over England continues, despite Shakib’s suggestion on Tuesday that he is more interested in closing the gap on the “bigger” teams in the 50-over game. “We believe we can beat any side if we play to our ability,” he said. “We’ll definitely try to win the game, but we’ll have to keep our processes right. We just need to perform well and keep doing our jobs.”
The speed with which Bangladesh learned from their errors in the first ODI, in which Tamim Iqbal scored a brilliant century but found himself completely unsupported, has impressed an England team that has not had a close look at their opponents since a one-sided series back in 2005. With Imrul Kayes and Mushfiqur Rahim knuckling down to produce a pair of crease-occupying fifties, the team was able to bat through its 50 overs, and use the final Powerplay to post a competitive total of 260.
“For the last 15-16 months, we’ve been scoring consistently well,” said Shakib. “Imrul and Mushy are playing superbly, and I need to bat well too, but we have some good hitters at the end of the team too. Hopefully we’ll put our big total on the board again, and continue our good performance with the bat.”
Unfortunately for Bangladesh, they still made a clutch of critical errors in the second match, most notably in the field, where three catches went down - two of which, off Paul Collingwood and Alastair Cook, proved particularly costly. In addition, England’s matchwinner, Eoin Morgan, survived a brace of lbw appeals from Mahmudullah that might on another day have been upheld. The net result was another case of so near, yet so far.
“We stuck to our batting plan, because the boys know the rules and they try to do it every game,” said Bangladesh’s coach, Jamie Siddons. “I thought 260 gave us a good chance if we took our catches, which we didn’t, and if decisions had gone our way, which they didn’t. England would have been in a whole heap of trouble if Morgan had been given out.”
But he wasn’t, and even though wickets continued to slip away at the other end, Morgan’s calm demeanour and his uncanny recognition of a scoring opportunity allowed England to sneak home by two wickets in the penultimate over. “I know how big he can hit it, so I always thought he’d be a sticking point in the Powerplay,” admitted Siddons. “Taking on our medium pacers and spinners against the short boundaries was always going to be a problem.”
Ultimately, Bangladesh’s decision to revert to the seam of Shafiul Islam proved costly. Having been made to bide his time against the spinners, Morgan used the extra pace to crack 23 match-winning runs in 11 deliveries, but Siddons refused to pin the blame on a rookie in only his second month of international cricket.
“It’s always easy in hindsight, but the Powerplay overs have always been a problem for us,” he said. “In the past, we’ve tried Abdur Razzak and he’s gone for 25 in the last over, and we’ve tried Rubel [Hossain] and he’s gone for 20. Shafiul bowls good yorkers in practice, and he’s our Powerplay go-to man, but he just didn’t execute, and you can’t do a thing if you don’t execute. The spinners might have done the same thing.”
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Friday, March 5th, 2010 and is filed under Cricket, General.
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