When Bangladesh meet England at Adelaide on Monday, it will be a case of all or nothing for the two sides. Whoever wins is most likely to qualify as the fourth team from Pool A. Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka are certainly through following their fantastic performances in the tournament so far. It thus all boils down to the Bangladesh-England clash for the fourth spot. Bangladesh are currently in fourth spot with 5 points, and if they get the better of England, they will certainly be through. England, on the other hand, will have to win both their remaining games to hope for qualification. They can certainly get the better of Afghanistan, but they need to find a way to get past Bangladesh first.
Bangladesh would be fresh from their win against Scotland, chasing a massive score. At the back of their minds, they would also be aware that they defeated the Englishmen the last time these two teams met in the World Cup, at Chittagong. Those however were conditions that favoured the home side. Bangladesh will need a lot more skills to overcome the English at Adelaide. They should take a lot of confidence into the game from the manner in which they batted against Scotland, displaying no pressure at all in pursuit of a big total. They would be keen to exploit England’s weak bowling, which will be extremely low on confidence.
They were plenty of positives for Bangladesh in the win over Scotland that they would be keen to carry on. The dangerous opener Tamim Iqbal played himself into form just in the nick of time, with a belligerent innings against Scotland. The other opener Soumya Sarkar’s form is a worry, but everyone from Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan to Sabbir Rahman got among the runs to give Bangladesh an easy win, and kept them in race for the quarters. Their bowling will be a worry. Taskin Ahmed was impressive, but Mashrafe Mortaza and Rubel Hossain gave away plenty. They would be keen to get their act right against England.
The Englishmen on the other will have to get their act right in the bowling department. It has been really difficult to fathom how an experienced line up consisting of match-winning bowlers like James Anderson and Stuart Broad has failed to make any sort of impact on the tournament. Steven Finn’s form is an equally big worry. He was been picking up wickets, but they are costing England more than they can afford. Chris Woakes too has been inconsistent. With Moeen Ali not being able to produce much with the ball, England could ponder upon bringing in spinner James Tredwell.
For some reason, England are not willing to play Alex Hales ahead of Gary Ballance, even though the latter has been failing miserably at the number three position. It is baffling to see that England are not utilising their resources, and if they do not go in for change against Bangladesh, they might as well have to big goodbye to their World Cup dreams. England’s batting has so far only flourished in a couple of games, and they must get their act in order against Bangladesh to fight on for another day.
--By A Cricket Analyst