Preview: Quarter-final berth at stake in Bangladesh-England clash

England team during a training session ahead of their World Cup match against Bangladesh

Quarter-final berth at stake in Bangladesh-England clash

By Suneer Chowdhary

Chittagong: Mar 11, 2011

Given the passion that the game of cricket evokes in Bangladesh, it was unpardonable but hardly surprising that the stone-throwing incident marred the team s return to the hotel. For a side which had gone into the tournament as favourites to get to the quarter-final and according to some overzealous fanatics, even to the semi-finals a loss to West Indies after being bowled out for 58 would have hardly gone down well.

What the loss would have obviously done apart from reducing the team s chances of getting to the knock-out is to deflate some of the confidence that the side would have retained after their batting against India and bowling against the Irish. It will now be a matter of picking up the pieces and starting afresh in the tournament, in their game against England at the ZAC Stadium at Chittagong.

It would be fair to say that Bangladesh s batting depends much on the pair of Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan. At number four, Mushfiqur Rahim is probably too high in the order, especially for someone who averages less than 24 in this format and given that he has had only one half century against Zimbabwe in the last 18 games. A swap with Raqibul Hasan could be the order of the day for the middle-order.

Then again, Abdur Razzaq has been off the boil in the tournament so far and the think tank may look at bringing in Suhrawadi Shuvo in his place.

It would not be surprising if fans mistook England for the Pakistani side. They have been as unpredictable in the tournament as Pakistani cricket has been over the years, what with their loss to Ireland, win against South Africa and a tied encounter with India. Adding to the muddle will be the injuries and exclusion of Kevin Pietersen and Stuart Broad from the side, two of the potential lynchpins in the team.

Even accounting for the fact that Pietersen s place in the side could be taken by Eoin Morgan, one of the better middle-order batsmen in recent times, Broad s absence will be felt. He was the one reason why the English managed to defend their score of 171 against South Africa and with both Ajmal Shahzad and Chris Tremlett inexperienced in the sub-continent conditions, it will test England to the fullest.

This could also allow Michael Yardy to retain his place in the side once again but a change to bowling much slower will probably be the need of the hour from him. James Anderson had found a bit of his bowling touch in the previous game against South Africa but things would be slightly more batting-friendly at Chittagong than they were at Chennai. The possibility that the Bangladeshi batting will look to go after the under-fire Anderson from the very start is high.

The ZAC Stadium in Chittagong has never hosted a day-night game before, which will make the potential fall of dew an interesting factor at the toss. The home team usually packs itself with the spin bowlers and if they do bowl second, things could get challenging.

Casting a glance at the points table, it would be a safe assumption to make that the side wanting to qualify for the quarter-final from Group B would need to get to at least six points. Beyond that, there will be a matter of the net run-rate but to get there, Bangladesh needs two wins from their remaining three games.

Allowing for the assumption that Bangladesh will overcome Netherlands, it means that one of the games this one or the one against South Africa need to be won by them. Despite having overcome South Africa last World Cup, it would be face to assume that they have a better chance against England than against South Africa. In short, a loss here could seal Bangladesh s fate in the tournament.

It is equally difficult for England who have five points from four games and after this have a match against the West Indies. They need to clinch one of these two games to go through.

Bangladesh (Probable):Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Junaid Siddique, Shakib Al Hasan (c), Raqibul Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mohammad Ashraful, Abdur Razzaq/Suhrawadi Shuvo, Naeem Islam, Rubel Hossain, Shafiul Islam

England (Probable): Andrew Strauss (c), Matt Prior (wk), Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Eoin Morgan, Michael Yardy, Tim Bresnan, Ajmal Shahzad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson

Umpires: Daryl Harper (Australia) and Rod Tucker (Australia)

Time: 14.30 hours local (09.00 GMT)

(Suneer is a Mumbai-based cricket writer and can be contacted at suneerchowdhary@gmail.com and Tweets here: @suneerchowdhary)

By Suneer Chowdhary

Chittagong: Mar 11, 2011

Given the passion that the game of cricket evokes in Bangladesh, it was unpardonable but hardly surprising that the stone-throwing incident marred the team s return to the hotel. For a side which had gone into the tournament as favourites to get to the quarter-final and according to some overzealous fanatics, even to the semi-finals a loss to West Indies after being bowled out for 58 would have hardly gone down well.

What the loss would have obviously done apart from reducing the team s chances of getting to the knock-out is to deflate some of the confidence that the side would have retained after their batting against India and bowling against the Irish. It will now be a matter of picking up the pieces and starting afresh in the tournament, in their game against England at the ZAC Stadium at Chittagong.

It would be fair to say that Bangladesh s batting depends much on the pair of Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan. At number four, Mushfiqur Rahim is probably too high in the order, especially for someone who averages less than 24 in this format and given that he has had only one half century against Zimbabwe in the last 18 games. A swap with Raqibul Hasan could be the order of the day for the middle-order.

Then again, Abdur Razzaq has been off the boil in the tournament so far and the think tank may look at bringing in Suhrawadi Shuvo in his place.

It would not be surprising if fans mistook England for the Pakistani side. They have been as unpredictable in the tournament as Pakistani cricket has been over the years, what with their loss to Ireland, win against South Africa and a tied encounter with India. Adding to the muddle will be the injuries and exclusion of Kevin Pietersen and Stuart Broad from the side, two of the potential lynchpins in the team.

Even accounting for the fact that Pietersen s place in the side could be taken by Eoin Morgan, one of the better middle-order batsmen in recent times, Broad s absence will be felt. He was the one reason why the English managed to defend their score of 171 against South Africa and with both Ajmal Shahzad and Chris Tremlett inexperienced in the sub-continent conditions, it will test England to the fullest.

This could also allow Michael Yardy to retain his place in the side once again but a change to bowling much slower will probably be the need of the hour from him. James Anderson had found a bit of his bowling touch in the previous game against South Africa but things would be slightly more batting-friendly at Chittagong than they were at Chennai. The possibility that the Bangladeshi batting will look to go after the under-fire Anderson from the very start is high.

The ZAC Stadium in Chittagong has never hosted a day-night game before, which will make the potential fall of dew an interesting factor at the toss. The home team usually packs itself with the spin bowlers and if they do bowl second, things could get challenging.

Casting a glance at the points table, it would be a safe assumption to make that the side wanting to qualify for the quarter-final from Group B would need to get to at least six points. Beyond that, there will be a matter of the net run-rate but to get there, Bangladesh needs two wins from their remaining three games.

Allowing for the assumption that Bangladesh will overcome Netherlands, it means that one of the games this one or the one against South Africa need to be won by them. Despite having overcome South Africa last World Cup, it would be face to assume that they have a better chance against England than against South Africa. In short, a loss here could seal Bangladesh s fate in the tournament.

It is equally difficult for England who have five points from four games and after this have a match against the West Indies. They need to clinch one of these two games to go through.

Teams

Bangladesh (Probable):Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Junaid Siddique, Shakib Al Hasan (c), Raqibul Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mohammad Ashraful, Abdur Razzaq/Suhrawadi Shuvo, Naeem Islam, Rubel Hossain, Shafiul Islam

England (Probable): Andrew Strauss (c), Matt Prior (wk), Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Eoin Morgan, Michael Yardy, Tim Bresnan, Ajmal Shahzad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson

Umpires: Daryl Harper (Australia) and Rod Tucker (Australia)

Time: 14.30 hours local (09.00 GMT)

(Suneer is a Mumbai-based cricket writer and can be contacted at suneerchowdhary@gmail.com and Tweets here: @suneerchowdhary)

Pictures Getty Images