Nice and easy. That’s exactly how I like it.
There were no nerves at The Oval today. England cantered to victory by eight wickets against a limited Bangladesh team. It looked like a banana skin on paper, but all the Bangladeshi bowlers could do was blow raspberries. What a difference from the last time these two teams met in a major 50 over tournament.
Although Bangladesh’s 305 might have looked decent to some, I’ve seen enough games at The Oval to know that chasing runs is usually a pretty simple exercise when the sun is out and the pitch is good. The outfield is usually fast and boundaries are easy enough to come by.
And so it proved. In order to restrict England the visitors needed regular wickets. But they never looked like getting anyone out other than poor old Jason Roy … who’s having about as much luck as Theresa May at present. Alex Hales, Joe Root and Eoin Morgan were simply too good for an attack that lacked both depth and any discernible cutting edge.
Although the Tigers put up a fight – Tamin Iqbal excelled with that bat – England looked in control throughout. Things looked somewhat hairy when Bangladesh reached 261-2 with six overs to go, but our bowlers delivered when it really mattered and pegged the visitors back by taking regular wickets at the death.
England have now put the dire showing at Lord’s behind them and will march forward with a spring in their step, or, in some cases, a gingerly limp. I’m afraid it wasn’t all positive on the injury front.
The goodish news is that Ben Stokes managed to complete seven overs and pick up a wicket. He didn’t look entirely comfortable but at least he soldiered on.
The bad news is that Chris Woakes entered the game with a sore thigh and ended it with a sore side. He was only able to bowl two overs and his participation in the rest of the tournament is now in doubt. Bit of a bummer that. Losing Woakes, who is probably our most experienced death bowler, could come back to bite us.
The only other bad news was the performance of Jake Ball, who was surprisingly (and probably a bit daftly) preferred to Adil Rashid. I’m not sure what to make of Ball at the moment. He doesn’t quite have the accuracy an international bowler should. His List A statistics aren’t particularly great either.
If Ball’s a better white ball bowler than Stuart Broad, then I’m Ryan Ten Doeschate. I wonder if Broady will get a phone call from Whitaker if, as many expect, Woakes is ruled out of the competition?