Bangldesh Vs England
Starting Time: 2:00 pm IST
Chittagong, March 11: Bangladesh will enter their World Cup 2011 fixture against England knowing full well that a victory is the only way they can stay in contention for a place in the quarter-finals. Their bid for such suffered a serious set-back in their comprehensive loss to the Windies last week, a defeat they must still be shell-shocked by.
England on the other hand, is riding a crest wave of confidence after consigning the mighty South Africans to a six-run defeat and furthering their standing in Group B. However, the departure of an in-form Kevin Pietersen, due to a hernia, will undoubtedly deal them a body blow. Still, incoming Eoin Morgan has the credentials to show that he is adequate compensation.
What's more, he bears a good track record against the Bangladeshis, being England's highest run-scorer against them in a Feb-March 2010 touring series which his side won 3-zip. Bangladesh too possess a trump card in Tamim Iqbal, who was the second highest run-getter in that series, while England's Tim Bresnan emerged the most successful bowler with 8 wickets from 3 matches at an average of 15.87. (And he has been the most effective for side in the Cup so far with 8 wickets from 4 matches at 23.50).
Bangladesh faired better in the return Natwest Series in July 2010, pulling one back in the best-of-three series. Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott ruled the run-making charts in the number 1 and 2 positions while Tamim Iqbal came 9th in the list. Incidentally, it is the former two batsmen that have been England's most prosperous willow-wielders in the Cup so far with averages of 70.00 and 55.50 respectively.
In the July 2010 series, England's Ajmal Shahzad was the highest wicket-taker followed by the opposition's Mashrafe Mortaza, who unfortunately and inexplicably was left out of Bangladesh's World Cup 2011 squad.
As far as Bangladesh's batting in this World Cup goes, Tamim Iqbal has turned out to be the most consistent with an average of 38.00, followed by captain Shakib Al Hasan, with 26.33. Shakib also comes out as Bangladesh's second best bowler in the WC 2011 with 3 scalps from 3 matches at an average of 30.00, after paceman Shafiul Islam who is averaging 20.00 with 5 scalps to his credit.
So as Bangladesh approaches its moment of truth in this tournament, one will have to wait and see if they have the heart to take the fight to the English and win Friday's encounter.