Bangladesh cannot be underestimated: Morgan - GulfToday

Bangladesh cannot be underestimated: Morgan


England players attend a training session at the Cardiff Wales Stadium in Cardiff, south Wales, on Friday. Agence France-Presse

Captain Eoin Morgan said England were ready for any surprises Bangladesh might spring on them during their Cricket World Cup encounter on Saturday.

The tournament favourites are looking to regain their momentum after being beaten by Pakistan in their last outing.

The Tigers condemned Morgan’s men to a first-round exit at the 2015 edition with a 15-run victory in Adelaide.

At that point there was no longer any way of hiding England’s white-ball woes and, with a home World Cup up next, then England and Wales Cricket Board director Andrew Strauss was determined the national side’s limited overs form had to improve.

To that end, Peter Moores was sacked as coach, with Strauss bringing in experienced Australian Trevor Bayliss as his replacement.

Since that debacle ‘Down Under’, England have risen to to the top of the one-day international rankings.

With Bangladesh having pulled off a shock win over South Africa in their opening match, Morgan said the hosts were taking nothing for granted in a match they are expected to win.

“It is going to be a difficult game. They are a good side. I think people underestimate them. We certainly don’t,” Morgan told reporters on Friday during training.

Morgan said Bangladesh have a strong batting line up at the top of the order while their spinners can cause all sorts of problems for opposing teams.

Morgan said England would be ready for anything Bangladesh can throw at them, including the possibility of an opening spin attack as seen during their previous two games which yielded quick wickets. “Mystery spin is a new challenge. Bangladesh will open with spin, definitely,” said Morgan.

Morgan also did not rule out the possibility of including Liam Plunkett as an extra fast bowler as previous wickets at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff were greener and seamer-friendly.

Both teams have won one of their two games to date in the 10-team round-robin format.

Meanwhile if England were annoyed by some of Pakistan’s ‘verbals’, there were times when the large contingent of fans for the sub-continental side — a common sight even when England are at home — also had an effect.

England all-rounder Chris Woakes, usually the most mild-mannered of Cricketers, put his finger to his lips in a bid to ‘silence’ Pakistan supporters after taking a catch on the boundary.

It could well be a similar story at Sophia Gardens on Saturday, particularly as several players on both sides who featured in England’s ill-tempered 2016 win over Bangladesh in Dhaka are likely to be involved again. England fast bowler Plunkett, who could be recalled after missing the Pakistan defeat, said his team-mates knew how to maintain their composure.

“Pakistan are pretty good like that, they can get niggly. When they’re on top they’re good at doing it,” said the 34-year-old.

“Similarly Bangladesh and India, they’re good at doing that, good at appealing quite a lot. It’s just the way they play their Cricket.

“But we’ve played in big competitions, guys have played around the world — at IPL (Indian Premier League) and Big Bash in front of big crowds — it shouldn’t be too much for the players.”

Bangladesh also head into the weekend following a defeat after losing out by two wickets in a tense contest with New Zealand.

But Plunkett said the days when the Tigers were rank outsiders away from the sub-continent had gone.

“There’s no real shock defeats in this competition,” he insisted. “We’ve already seen Bangladesh beat South Africa and that’s not a shock defeat.

For Bangladesh, a match at Sophia Gardens sees them back at the scene of one of their greatest triumphs — a 2005 ODI win over Australia, then as now world champions, that is arguably the biggest upset in the history of international Cricket.

Mashrafe Mortaza, who played in that stunning five-wicket success, is now Bangladesh’s captain.

He took heart from how Bangladesh had nearly defended a target of 245 against New Zealand, saying the team were in good spirits as they prepared to face England.

“I think they (England) are one of the biggest side in this tournament. It’s not going to be easy, we knew that,” said Mashrafe.

“But again, if we can play our best possible Cricket, you never know.”


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