England crash out of Cricket World Cup at group stage after Bangladesh defeat

bd v england march 2015

Bangladesh 275-7, England 260 all out (Bangladesh win by 15 runs)

England are out of the World Cup. On a ground that has seen humiliation heaped upon them more than once in the past decade, they suffered one more ignominy, hustled out of the competition by a vibrant Bangladesh team who belied their status as whipping boys and delighted their thousands of supporters in the stands.

In the end it was not even close.

Set 276 to win, after Mahmudullah Riyad had underpinned the Bangladesh innings with his country’s first ever World Cup century, England were rarely in the race, subsiding not against spin, as might have been anticipated, but by urgent seam bowling that ripped out the England middle order, including the captain Eoin Morgan for a fourth-ball nought, his fifth duck in his last nine innings.

Hitherto Morgan has expressed no concern for his form: he might want to reconsider that. 97 for one became 132 for five in the space of 10 overs and the game had been settled there and then. Throughout, Bangladesh were brilliantly led by Mashrafe Mortaza, their opening bowler who started the rot by dismissing Alex Hales and later returned to remove Joe Root, England’s most prolific batsman of this competition (the word prolific being a relative one).

Only a seventh-wicket stand of 75 between Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes, that actually gave England a glimmer of a chance, prevented a rout, but Buttler was caught behind for 65 with 38 still needed from 25 balls. Chris Jordan was then given run out from the next ball, his bat adjudged to have bounced in the air after he had already grounded it, diving back into the crease as the direct hit struck. It proved the end of the line, despite Woakes’s belligerent unbeaten 42, England finishing on 260, 15 runs short.

As the last wicket fell, and the stumps lit up as Rubel Hossain spread-eagled the stumps, the bowler wheeled away in celebration before being swamped by his team mates. Unbridled, deserved joy for Bangladesh and their supporters. Well done to them. A dark, dark day for England cricket.

Back at the start of January, around the time when England first arrived in Australia, Stuart Broad said what may just be the most prescient thing anyone has uttered since. “We would have to have an absolute stinker,“ he opined, “not to make the quarter-finals.”

Well he got that one spot on. A stinker might have got them closer, but absolute was what he foresaw and absolute is what they delivered.

Whatever their result against New Zealand in Auckland at the weekend, Bangladesh can now look forward to a quarter-final match at the MCG against India, the point that they gained from their washed out match against Australia in Brisbane proving vital. England, meanwhile, must now skulk around in Sydney to play their final match against Afghanistan before making the trip home to the opprobrium and the repercussions that will follow.

A poor campaign thus comes to the end it deserved. The nature of the competition meant that even the three massive defeats suffered at the hands of Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka would not prevent them from progressing, providing they won their matches against Scotland, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Even that proved beyond them.

England appeared to have their run chase under control in the early stages although they lost Moeen Ali to a sleepy run out. This was a decent pitch, the conditions were good and there was a short boundary to one side. It should have been a task well within England’s compass.

They made two changes to the team, with Hales and Jordan replacing Gary Ballance and Steven Finn, a move that simply had to happen. Hales played comfortably enough but started the rot when, having hit two boundaries, he drove extravagantly and was caught behind. In short order Bell went to the extra bounce of Rubel, Morgan hooked to long leg, and Taylor threw the bat at a wide one and was caught at slip.

For much of the Bangladesh innings, until they managed to peg things back in the closing overs, England had the Tigers on their tail in Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur who, with great common sense, judgement and skill put their side into a position from which they might reasonably have expected to top 300.

Mahmudullah had come to the crease with the innings already in a small state of crisis, the wickets of both openers, Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes falling to slip catches as Jimmy Anderson swung the new ball almost for the first time in the tournament. Slips were posted – three and for a while four of them – an old fashioned idea that has somehow become fashionable once more: it will be flared trousers, cricket shirts slashed to the waist, and afro haircuts next.

Along with Soumya Sarkar, Mahmudullah saw off the early challenge and the pair added 86 for the third wicket before a double strike saw Sarkar trying, and failing, to evade a brisk bouncer from Jordan, and Shakib al Hasan edging Moeen’s off break to slip. At 99 for four, it presented a second crisis, but one which Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur brushed aside.

Mushfiqur knows his onions at this level, perhaps the oldest youngster in the game with 10 years international experience at the age of 26. Their stand of 141 for the fifth wicket is a Bangladesh World Cup record.

But more pertinently, Mahmudullah made his way, with great care latterly, to the first hundred scored by a Bangladeshi in the 30 World Cup matches they have played. His celebrations were full and justified, the innings greeted rapturously by the Bangladesh supporters in their green and red shirts. When Mushfiqur finally caught up with him, it was as if a young child was hugging his father.

It took a run out, Woakes hitting direct from short third man, to end Mahmudullah’s innings, but Mushfiqur began to open his shoulders.

Because of his build he is always going to be a prolific cutter and carver, but he more than punches his weight off the front foot too, and by the time he skewed a slower ball from Broad to deep extra cover, he had hit eight fours and a six.

Source: The Guardian