Beware the wounded Bangla Tigers. Eoin Morgan will be tempted to be cautious when England clash with Bangladesh in a Group 1 game in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. The Abu Dhabi day tie offers Bangladesh a chance to redeem their loss against Sri Lanka in the Super 12s, while England will seek to build on the rousing win over the West Indies in their opener.
Morgan will also be aware that England’s demolition of West Indies batting was partly due to the cavalier approach of the Caribbeans on a rather difficult pitch in Dubai. The Abu Dhabi strip too is not conducive to strokeplay if the Australian win over South Africa is any indication.
That should worry England as the batsmen made heavy weather of West Indies’ paltry target of 56. Jason Roy, Liam Livingstone and Jonny Bairstow are superb stroke players, but they need someone to knuckle down and graft hard when the going gets tough. The return to form of Jos Buttler is a huge plus; that will pave the way for some strong starts. England have quality spinners in Moeen Ali and Adil Rasheed to profit from slow wickets, and the pace attack too is excellent.
Bangladesh seem to have put their worst behind them after the shock defeat to Scotland in Round One. They looked good against Sri Lanka until they dropped several catches and were punished severely in Sharjah. They have to be at their absolute best if they have to harbour hopes of upsetting England.
Shakib Al Hassan is a world-class player, and his left-arm spin had helped Bangladesh put the Sri Lankans in a spot. But Mustafizur Rahman was disappointing, and he has to raise his game to stop the English stroke makers. Beyond that, the Bangladesh attack is rather thin. So they need runs on the board.
Mohammad Naim and Mishfiqur Rahim led the scoring charts in the previous game, but they will be up against a more potent and varied England attack. More batsmen need to contribute if they have to put England under pressure.
The class and depth in the England ranks make them one of the favourites. Bangladesh will be hardpressed to run them close. It’s difficult to see an upset, although T20 cricket doesn’t respect form or reputation. As for caution, this England side is anything but cautious.