England vs Bangladesh: Will Bangladesh impede England’s path to semi-finals?

Charlie Dean (L) Salma Khatun (R) © Getty Images

When Bangladesh became one of the three sides to qualify for the 2022 World Cup after the Qualifiers, they had never faced four of their future opponents. Playing against New Zealand, West Indies, and Australia, Nigar Sultana’s side put up a brave fight. Bangladesh have never faced England in the ODI format before, but when they will face the defending champions at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on Sunday (March 27), they would want to end their campaign on a high note. 

What’s at stake

For England, the equation is really simple. If they hope to make it to the knockout stage of the World Cup, they have to beat Bangladesh to earn two vital points. The defending champions started their campaign with three back-to-back defeats. They dusted themselves off against India with a win. They have now won three matches in a row to keep their hopes alive. After a shaky start to the title defense, England found a way to turn things around.

Heather Knight’s side has been guilty of collapsing late in the innings and their lower-middle order has struggled in the tournament. Top order consisting of Tammy Beaumont, Danielle Wyatt and Heather Knight has provided the much needed foundation, but apart from Natalie Sciver the middle order has not given the launching pad. Bangladesh had Australia under the pump in the early part of the chase, if England are to survive similar situation, then their lower-middle order has to stand up.

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Spirited Bangladesh, on the other hand, are already out of the knockout contention. But that did not stop them from fighting against Australia in their previous game. While defending a small total, Bangladesh had Australia in all sorts of troubles as Salma Khatun’s three-wicket haul reduced the Aussies to four for 41 at one stage. Nigar’s side has pushed every team in the tournament and Sunday’s clash might not be an exception either. 

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Batting has been one of the concerning factors for Bangladesh in the tournament. They were able to put their highest-ever ODI score against Pakistan, which they defended to win their first match of the World Cup, but they haven’t been able to continue on that promise. Fargana Hoque became the first Bangladeshi player to go past 1000 ODI runs, and Bangladesh would hope she continues with her form against England as well. Lata Mondol found a way to score against Australia’s spinners and she can be a handy lower-order batter for her team as well.

What they said:

“We plan for each individual in the opposition teams every time. We have a good spin attack, so we are going to plan against them (England) and not let them play the kind of shots they are used to playing. Obviously, our bowling unit has done well so far, so I’m hoping they will do the same thing tomorrow,”

– Nigar Sultana on how her spinners will tackle England batters.

“Yeah, for me, I think a lot of their bowlers are definitely threats. Salma Khatun bowling in the powerplay and throughout, I think is a real key bowler for them. So we’re definitely trying to nullify her threat,”

– Tammy Beaumont on who is the biggest threat in the Bangladesh side.

Players to watch out for:

Charlie Dean: Bangladesh spinners dismantled the Australian top order against Australia and at the same time Austrlaian spinners took four out of six Bangladeshi wickets at the Basin Reserve. Dean has been one of England’s most successful spinners and they would like her to continue with her form. She took a four wicket haul against India and she was vital against New Zealand as well. If England are to restrict Bangladesh to a below par total, Dean can be one of their prime weapons.

Salma Khatun: Salma removed the dangerous trio of Alyssa Healy, Meg Lanning and Rachael Haynes before they could easily chase down the total in the previous match. Her nine over spell challenged all Australian batters and kept Bangladesh in the game for a long time. She bowled really well on tandem with Rumana Ahmed and the pair can cause some serious damage against England’s top order. She has also contributed with the bat throughout the tournament and she can still make an impact.

Predicted XI:

England: Tammy Beaumont, Danielle Wyatt, Heather Knight (c), Natalie Sciver, Amy Jones (wk), Sophia Dunkley, Charlie Dean, Katherine Brunt, Sophie Ecclestone, Kate Cross, Anya Shrubsole

Bangladesh: Murshida Khatun, Sharmin Akhter, Fargana Hoque, Nigar Sultana (c & wk), Rumana Ahmed, Ritu Moni, Lata Mondal, Salma Khatun, Fahima Khatun, Nahida Akter, Jahanara Alam