Cricket World Cup Preview – England v Bangladesh

England are still 15/8 market leaders with BetVictor for the 2019 ICC World Cup ahead of their third round-robin game against Bangladesh in Cardiff on Saturday.

The hosts are looking to return to winning ways after they were beaten by Pakistan at Trent Bridge earlier in the week. Joe Root and Jos Buttler scored the first two centuries of the tournament in Nottingham – Rohit Sharma added a third in India’s comprehensive defeat of South Africa on Wednesday – but it still wasn’t enough for the hosts to get across the line after a poor day in the field.

England’s comprehensive win over the Proteas in the opening game of the competition has been undermined by the two subsequent losses of Faf Du Plessis’ side which included a 21-run loss to Saturday’s opponents’ Bangladesh at the Oval on Sunday.

Jofra Archer went for 79 from his 10 barren overs against Pakistan and it is possible that Eoin Morgan will rotate his quicks with Liam Plunkett returning to his starting XI on Saturday having been left out of the side against Pakistan. The other option available to Morgan is to leave out one of his spinners with Moeen Alli looking badly out of sorts with the bat earlier in the week.

The Tigers lost to New Zealand on Wednesday in a game that revolved around a couple of run-out incidents involving the Bangladesh keeper/batsman Mushfiqur Rahim. Bangladesh looked on target for 300+ when Rahim was involved in a mix up with Shakib Al Hasan although it did look the fault of the latter who would surely have made his ground had he gone on the striker’s call.

More importantly Mushfiqur completely cocked up a simple chance to run out Black Caps’ skipper Kane Williamson following yet another mix-up involving Williamson and Ross Taylor who is an appalling runner between the wickets but has got better with age with a bat in his hand.

The Tigers’ keeper inadvertently took the bails off before the ball arrived with Williamson well out of his ground with the Black Caps 61-2 and the game in the balance. The pair were eventually parted on 160 but their century partnership took the game away from the Tigers despite a late rally which saw the Black Cats limp over the line by 2 wickets.

It would be a surprise if Bangladesh did not start the England innings with the off-spin of Mehidy Hasan given both Jonny Bairstow (v South Africa) and Jason Roy (v Pakistan) have been out cheaply to spinners operating with a new ball in the first couple of games.

Roy had a particularly poor game against Pakistan having fielded poorly before he played across the line and was plumb lbw to Shadab Khan. The fact that he called for a review merely exacerbated what was a bad day at the office for the opener.

As stated earlier Root and Buttler scored centuries chasing Pakistan’s 348, but they did not see the hosts home and England’s aura of invincibility – if it ever existed – is in tatters. Remember this is the same Pakistan side who had lost 11 ODI’s on the spin and were bundled out for 105 by the West Indies in their opening game of the tournament.

England are 2/13 with BetVictor to beat the Tigers (9/2) who will have their fair share of support in Cardiff. The weather is forecast to be dull and overcast on Saturday – typical British early season conditions. It would go against the grain for Morgan to leave out one of his spinners – but I certainly would.

The Tigers have beaten South Africa and could – rather than should – have beaten the Black Caps. This is no gimme for England. If the hosts weren’t feeling the pressure before the start of the tournament, they will be now. I don’t expect a high-scoring game in Wales and Root is likely to be the glue that keeps England together if the ball is doing a bit. Root is taken to top-score for England at 3/1.

I think England might get amongst Bangladesh top order with the two new balls and the vastly experienced Mahmudullah coming in at six gets the vote at 8/1 with BetVictor to top-score for the Tigers.

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