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A good performance, a good win, and suddenly everything looks rosy again. Bangladesh simply couldn’t live with England in Cardiff on Saturday, and everyone sensed there was only going to be one winner once our batsmen sped past 100 without losing a wicket.

Bangladesh were out-gunned with the ball and all but surrendered with the bat. They never even tried to chase the runs. Personally I thought they were just trying to minimise the damage to their net run rate.

Shakib was great – we all know what a fine cricketer he is – but it was an easy and somewhat pointless hundred in the end. His team needed more than a run a ball (his strike rate was 101) if they really had ambitions to win the game.

Many people thought today was a potential banana skin, but Bangladesh were probably beaten as soon as they realised how the pitch was playing. Had it been a slow turner, the likes of which we’ve seen at Cardiff in the past, then they would’ve fancied their chances. Instead the pitch was tailor made for England: decent pace, no spin, and no help for the bowlers whatsoever. This meant our hitters could go to town. And everyone knows that Jason Roy is at his best when it’s paradise city for batsmen. His 140 was brutal. It almost wasn’t fair. Bangladesh’s tinpot seamers had no chance.

So what did we actually learn today? Very little actually. England are sensational on surfaces like this one. And the bowling has sharper teeth now that Jofra Archer’s missiles are leading the attack. I bet Tamin and the rest were very much on David Willey’s side when the debate about Archer’s inclusion was raging.

However, one cannot help but wonder whether England might have been better served by playing this game in slightly more challenging conditions. At some point in this tournament we’re going to encounter a more attritional game against cannier opponents. Let’s just hope it’s not India in the knockout phases.

Before I sign off, a few words about Moeen Ali, who was apparently dropped for this game even though he was absent from the ground to be with his heavily pregnant wife. What on Earth were Morgan and Bayliss thinking? Dropping Mo, who was our best bowler in the last game, and who forms such a great partnership with Rashid, was beyond brainless. I find it really worrying actually.

Although Moeen hasn’t been in great form with the bat, dropping him just makes the batting weaker – especially when he’s replaced by a lower order player. And when has it ever gone well for England when we’ve picked 5 seamers (in any form of the game) in the past? It just makes the attack look one dimensional.

The game today backed up what a strange decision it was. Only three of the five seamers performed well, and Rashid looked a poor imitation of his usual self without his reliable old mucker bowling at the other end.

Sometimes I wonder if England’s management are beginning to feel the pressure as they cannot have been thinking clearly. It’s possible they suspected Bangladesh would be more vulnerable against pace than spin (which might make some sense) but even then including 5 seamers is a boneheaded luxury. Ben Stokes is a more than adequate 4th seamer – as he proved again today by taking three wickets.

For all England’s talk of keeping a settled squad, and not rocking the boat, nothing sends shockwaves around a dressing room more than dropping a senior player who bowled really well just a few days before.

James Morgan


  • One sided boring slog fest of a game. Sadly, I’m seeing tweets and blogs about how great it was. Englsnd are flat track hitters and this was a flat track.. shock horror they win

    • It wasn’t a great game but it was essential for England to win. And they did that. Home supporters would’ve gone home happy.

    • If you can’t appreciate what a spectacular innings Roy played I feel sorry for you. None of our other batsmen made it look that easy on a wicket where the ball was holding up if you took pace off it and was difficult to time. The Bangladeshi opener’s hundred looked pretty crabby by comparison and he’s the top scorer in the tournament so far.

  • I still have reservations about our bowling attack. Will we manage to bowl anyone else really cheaply in this tournament ? Archer was by all accounts delivering some 95 mph balls. Woakes had the unenviable task of bowling into the wind and took a fair bit of stick. Stokes had a much better spell today. I wonder if Curran is going to get a chance at some stage.
    Bangladesh would have been better off batting first and trying to post over 300, then put us under pressure chasing.
    The West Indies bowling will certainly represent a different challenge next week. Certain players spring to mind who struggle against fast short-pitched bowling…Morgan, Moeen. West Indies batsmen not so good at rotating the strike perhaps, but could really tuck into some of our seam bowling. It will be a big challenge. Hopefully Buttler’s hip problem will be healed by then. My impression is that Bairstow is the tidier wicketkeeper but I suppose they like Buttler behind the stumps as he is vice captain and can communicate to the bowlers more easily. Still feel we are not quite there with regard to winning the tournament, I would still fancy Australia or India to win more, with New Zealand not to be disregarded either.
    India v Australia should be fascinating. Shame none of this is on free-to-view TV live.

    • Yes I think Curran is a must. He is the best one day finisher in the country. Not sure about Moen or Rashid at the moment, but we need one “spinner”. I agree with cricketcricketcricket though, this game was no where near as good as the Windies vs Aussie game the other day. Flat track against average bowling, right up England’s street and all a bit dull for me. But Bangladesh still got nearly 300.

  • A couple of narratives the media are trying to spin need to be stopped:

    1) The tournament has been full of upsets. The B3 record is currently P6 W5 L1. It gives some idea of the kind of ‘full spectrum dominance’ the B3 want and expect that that can be passed off as some kind of tale of surprises. SA’s poor performance only surprises those who don’t follow the game outside England (which is obviously nearly all the UK cricket media).
    2) The pitches haven’t been roads. The three England pitches have been – and that’s all that matters. The fact that some of the other pitches have had more for the bowler only increases the suspicion that pitches are being tailored for the home team (especially when the bowler-friendly pitches have been at the same venue).

    BTW, I was only half-listening but I think Ian Ward said on commentary that Rashid has had three injections in his shoulder.

    • I was under the impression that the ICC determined what type of pitches are prepared. But judging by the surfaces England have got thus far I’m not so sure! The pitch against Pakistan was a little two paced (only a little) and we struggled. One could argue this isn’t a coincidence. I’d rather England are tested on a variety of surfaces at this point in the competition just in case we get a tired surface in the knockouts and it bites us.

      Not sure how many injections Rashid has had but I know it’s a chronic condition. He hasn’t bowled particularly well in the last few games and didn’t get much spin yesterday. Having said that, nobody got much spin on that surface.

  • Moin needs a kick up the rectum as he is there as an all rounder and his batting has disintegrated. He needs to know his position is not guaranteed, merely because he is bowling well. Anyway Cardiff had a couple of short boundaries so dropping one of the spinners was a no brainer, especially with a Plunkett waiting in the wings. He is our go to bowler in mid innings as he always seems to pick up a couple and at present his batting is as good as Moin’s.
    Interesting to see Atherton speculating on Roy opening for the Ashes. In this form it’s hard to think of a more intimidating prospect. Will be interesting to see how he fares against Stark and co. in this tournament.
    Disagree about flat tracks. I would say the only truly flat track I have seen so far is at Trent Bridge. The Oval is bouncy but not pacey, like most of the wickets so far. The ball is not coming onto the bat, making it difficult to force the pace, hence the preponderance of slower short pitch balls, with which Woakes seems to have become obsessed. The batsmen’s are now getting used to them an adapting their strokeplay accordingly.
    We were put in yesterday against an attack that has done ok so far. Maybe our batting unit is just too good for them. I know more testing challenges have yet to come, but we still look good to go the distance.

    • I don’t think it’s just Woakes who bowls a lot of slow bouncers. Hardik Pandya bowled quite a few yesterday. I think it’s the current bowling fashion. Michael Holding was once asked on air if he ever bowled a slow bouncer. He just looked at the other commentator!

      • When you can bowl at his pace why bother. Even off his short run he was pretty fearsome. I can’t ever remember him showing concern about his pace being affected bowling into the wind. Maybe that would have been his slow bouncer.
        I know South Africa’s use of it against us at the Oval started a trend, but batsmen are showing signs of getting used to it now, hence Woakes conceding 80 runs, something I can’t ever remember him doing before, so we need to mix it up more. however it does show how the wickets are behaving. If the seam grips they are bouncing if it doesn’t they go through low, so it’s 2 paced and difficult to read, not flat track stuff. Plunkett’s ability to bowl scrambled seam stuff helps him to get that extra bounce, whereas Woakes skids through even if the seam grips, so height is never a problem for the batsmen. Look at Warner yesterday, struggling to get any timing going against Pandya’s slower stuff. In fact you could say his innings lost his team the run chase, putting that extra pressure on the middle order, not giving them time to have a look before accelerating. With 20 overs left they needed 10 an over. If you score 200 in a T20 you’re likely going to win.
        Have to say don’t know how this Aussie outfit beat India in India. Their spin twins of Zampa and Maxwell look there for the taking. Rashid and Moin look matchwinners by comparison.

  • I’m not sure about Moeen, but I’d think Woakes’ spot is in the balance. yes, he got a few with the bat yesterday, but he owed us that by going for almost 80 with the ball.

    Archer is a fine addition and if he can do it at Test level, then we have probably found a long term replacement for Jimmy Anderson. Sam Curran is probably closer to replacing Broad in the Test set up, and his brother (along with Archer), could be fearsome in the 50 over side.

    I disagree with those who think Bairstow is a tidier keeper than Buttler. I think some of Buttler’s stumpings have been magnificent, which Bairstow would not have got near.

    Tweaking to be done at 50 and 20 over level, still unsure of the Test setup. I Roy can do it as an opener, then hopefully that troublesome position is half fixed. Maybe we need a more “brave” coach to replace Bayliss. I’d certainly be happy with Darren Lehmann now the sandpaper gate dust has settled.

    An interesting winter awaits.

    • Woakes is an intelligent bowler. He has to be as he’s not a matchwinning one. Presently he has become obsessed with the slow short pitcher and needs to start thinking about variety again. Not sure he’s an opening bowler, even in one dayers, would rather see Plunkett and Archer as they both hit the deck and will get more response with the new ball. Woakes batting is pretty consistent too, so I would be reluctant to drop him, the only realistic alternative being the inexperienced Curran, one for the future certainly, but against the Indians, I don’t think so. They look the best balanced side in the tournament to date and a final against England would be suitable climax to what is becoming a good tournament.

  • The bowling of Bangladesh was not hopeless, or without movement. Actually, more movement than Australia are getting today. England batting impressive. But we should not have dropped Moeen, should not play an unfit Rashid as our only spinner, and we should not play Wood at all (ODI bowling average of 44 and strike rate not special). Curran would add variety and control to the attack.

    • Can’t help agreeing, albeit reluctantly, about Wood. He’s areal trier, but I think Curran would have more success and he’s a better batsman. Only problem is Curran’s another about the same pace as Woakes, Plunkett and Stokes, so you’re sacrificing variety. Don’t think either will make the Ashes though.

  • Couple of good games in prospect later this week. India v New Zealand on Thursday and England v West Indies on Friday. Both difficult to call. If England get another flat track then so do the West Indies power hitters.

  • Do we know that Moeen was ‘dropped’ for poor performance or just rotated with the added benefit of him getting extra time at home with bigger games to come? Wouldn’t read too much into it vs Bangladesh – if he doesn’t play on Friday against Windies then I’d be concerned.

    They have a little issue due to his lack of form with the bat as they’re a bit light at 7 without his runs, Woakes can probably do a job at 7 but his bowling is expensive.

    Can’t wait for the Windies game.

    • Yes he was dropped. Graeme Swann was going nuts about it on Cricinfo.

      England let it be known that he wasn’t at the ground for family reasons but that wasn’t why he wasn’t playing. TMS tweeted about it too. Apparently they felt that the extra seamer would be more valuable than the second spinner. It came down to a choice between Mo and Rashid.

      • A choice between Moen or Rashid? Blimey how do you call that one? I wouldn’t play either of them.

  • C4 highlights of India/Australia not on until after midnight. Meanwhile, the women’s football attracted an audience of over 6m….

    • I wonder how many viewers would watch the World Cup if there was even a highlights package on BBC1 around 7/8pm? After midnight is far too late unless you record it for next day, by which time it’s old news and you probably know the result anyway.

      Anyone know what Sky’s viewing figures are so far?

        • If you have a non sky digital package, we have virgin for example, you can get Sky 1, not normally a sports channel, showing 1 hour highlights of each game mid evening. If there’s 2 games that day each gets an hour, unlike channel 4’s hour for both.

    • Just out of curiosity, how are these viewing stats arrived at? I would love to know, especially the audience demographic. I can understand people here watching women’s footie if England are playing, but otherwise its tamer than leagues 1 and 2, and for some reason the goalkeeping is still a joke.
      I understand Sky are devoting their ‘sports mix’ channel, which is avaiable on non Sky packages, entirely to the women’s netball world championship next month, with every game shown live. Wonder what the stats for the projected audience of that will be? Mark you the channel is normally full of pretty obscure stuff.


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