Bristol: England skipper Eoin Morgan had no hesitation in admitting that their match against Bangladesh on Saturday in Cardiff will be a difficult one.
“They are a good side,” he warned in their press conference on Friday. “I think people underestimate them, but we certainly don’t. They are a side that has played a lot of cricket. Their senior players, especially, have played a lot of games, even more than our senior players. So they are a threat. But hopefully we can play well and overcome it.”
Morgan demands nothing but a victory over Bangladesh. The hopes of all their fans were shattered when Pakistan pulled off an exciting win over them in their last match. But Morgan is confident his team will regain their winning ways.
Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza is also wary of England. According to him, this is probably the best team England have ever had in a World Cup. “I think they are in good touch and winning matches,” said Mortaza. “So we have to play at our best.”
Mortaza is confident of having identified the strengths of the England team and hopes to put the brakes on them.
“If we can make it happen in tomorrow’s match, it might help us,” he said.
On the other hand, Morgan revealed that he has worked out his plans to stop Bangladesh. Sounding optimistic despite the last defeat, he stressed on the fact that they have learnt to counter defeat and play to their strengths. “We’ve talked about sticking to what we do well, focusing on ourselves and our strengths, and how we win games at cricket and how we get the best out of ourselves,” he added.
At the same time, he was very candid about their loss to Pakistan saying that they played badly and did not deserve to win that game. “We just didn’t play well enough,” he said.
What works well for the England captain is his ability to see the positives from a lost situation. “Having lost a match early on in the tournament presents a huge opportunity to learn more about our game and try to improve,” he said. “From all the games we’ve lost, probably heavily in the past, I believe we’ve learnt the most, and hence managed to stay in the game. We’ve remained in a head space where we believe we can still win the game, and that shows, maybe a lot more to us than to our supporters, what they don’t see all the time. They see an exciting team the majority of the time; but when we lose games, we want to see character.”
The Cardiff wicket has been pace-friendly in the last few matches. Rain has kept the wickets under cover and hence no one is sure how it will behave.
Bangladesh have beaten England in the last two World Cups, but Mortaza does not have much faith in history. “Just because we’ve beaten them in the last two World Cups doesn’t mean that it will happen again,” he said. “But there are chances for us, and for that, we must to play at our best.”