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Thursday, April 12, 2007

England muddle through against tenacious Bangladesh

The fifth ball of the sixth over of Bangladesh's innings, which was shown on tonight's ABC News (and no doubt many other places), summed up the game beautifully. Michael Vaughan at mid-wicket dropped a looped catch from Shahriar Nafees, then picked up the ball and angrily returned it to wicketkeeper Nixon, who ran out the non-striker (and on this occasion non-watcher) Habibul Bashar.

Bangladesh 2/23, soon became 3/26 (Nafees almost let off again, this time by Nixon who handballed the ball on to Andrew Strauss' safe pair of hands), 4/40/, 5/47, then 6/65 before Saqibul Hasan (an obdurate 57 no/ 95b) found enough support from the lower order to lead his team to a disappointing-but-could-have-been-much-worse 143 all out. Sajjad Mahmood (3/27), Monty Panesar (3/25) and James (Jimmy?) Anderson (2/30) kept the Bangladeshis in check and were rewarded with good figures.

England began as if they had all the time in the world to make the runs, which in a metaphorical sense they did. Ian Bell's 10 ball duck was, even for an opener in this situation, literally taking things a little too slowly. Neither Vaughan nor Strauss looked their best, but at least they put a few (or at least more than they'd done recently) runs on the board. Still, both were out by the time the score had crawled to 70 in 20.5 overs: slower than Bangladesh but at least with wickets in hand. Which was just as well, as at 70 Kevin Pietersen (10/25b) failed while Andrew Flintoff's modest success (23/21b) was only so in the context of his batting in the tournament to date. When he went it was 5/110, which looked, and was, shaky; and 6/110 (Ravi Bopara not troubling the scorers) was unquestionably very shaky. Fortunately for England Collingwood (23 no /74b)and Nixon (20 n o/39 b) took their team to victory not with a bang but with a whimper, which means that it's not the end of their World (cup). Yet.

Oh, and I've not mentioned that England sent Bangladesh in.

Once again, Cricinfo has a detailed stats report, this time by S Rajesh going solo.


Tonight's New Zealand - Sri Lanka match should be most interesting. What a pity it's not being shown on Channel Nine. If you're reading this hot from my press and you want to peek at the score click here.
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