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Poor England made to work
11 Apr 2007
By: Alex Crampton

A win is always a win, and England will be grateful for the points they pick up, but it was yet another poor performance today.

The top order was poor once again, and the middle order struggled against the left-arm spin battery. Bangladesh bowled well; they contained England to build up pressure, and struck crucial blows to bring themselves back into the game. Had they not batted so poorly, we could have seen another upset.

Sent in by Vaughan, they folded to 143 on a pacy deck, this total owing much to Saqibul Hasan's unbeaten 57. Sajid Mahmood took a pair of early wickets, his pace and bounce too much for the Bangladeshi openers, who fended into the slip cordon. There was also a rather bizarre run out, that of Habibul Bashar. Shahriar Nafees chipped a ball high into the on-side, only for Michael Vaughan to drop the easiest of catches. Assuming his team mate would be out; Bashar was casually jogging down the wicket. Vaughan threw the ball to Nixon, who whipped off the bails with Bashar short of his ground.

There was another wicket despite a dropped catch, Shahriar Nafees edged to Nixon, who could only palm the ball in the air, where Andrew Strauss took the catch. The Bangladeshis continued to struggle though, with England bowling back of a length at decent pace, allowing them to reduce their opponents to 65-6.

There was some recovery from Bangladesh, as the tail worked well with Saqibul Hasan. The lower order batsmen eventually succumbed to their instincts, Monty Panesar took three wickets as the bowlers slogged. Sajid Mahmood ended the innings as Syed Rasel fended to slip.

A target of 144 looked easy enough for England, even with their batsmen not in the best of form. Ian Bell sliced to point early, bringing together Andrew Strauss and Michael Vaughan. They added 41 together, but at a slow rate and without ever looked particularly confident. Both made starts, but threw their wickets away, wasting a chance to do something to justify their place in the side.

One of England's key batsmen shortly followed, Kevin Pietersen falling to Farhad Reza's sharp chance at midwicket. At 79-4, Flintoff and Collingwood took them to 110. Flintoff played some good shots, but his struggles for form are evident, and he was eventually beaten by Mohammad Rafique's arm ball for 23. Rafique followed this up 4 balls later with the wicket of Ravinder Bopara, who played on, via his boot.

Now 110-6, English nerves were jangling, and Bangladesh spied another triumph. It was not to be though; Nixon and Collingwood were able to tick the runs off slowly, though not entirely convincingly.

However they played, England did do better than South Africa and India in getting a win, but today's performance will not be worrying their rivals for a semi-final spot, South Africa. England will need to up their game a long way to reach the last four. Bangladesh though, showed yet more signs of becoming a competitive ODI side, but their struggles with pace and bounce are something which needs to be rectified.

Bangladesh 143 all out
Saqibul Hasan 57*
Monty Panesar 3-25, Sajid Mahmood 3-27, James Anderson 2-30

England 147-6
Michael Vaughan 30, Paul Collingwood 23*, Andrew Flintoff 23
Syed Rasel 2-25, Abdur Razzak 2-30, Mohammad Rafique 2-33

England win by four wickets

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