With a resounding 137-run victory over Bangladesh in Dharamshala, England got their campaign back on track with to Dawid Malan’s first Cricket World Cup century and a strong new-ball effort from Reece Topley.
Jos Buttler’s team needed a quick response after losing to New Zealand by nine wickets in their opening game. Malan’s 140 from just 107 balls helped to set a formidable total of 364 for nine.
When the Tigers were run out with ten balls remaining in the reply, Topley took four wickets in his next three overs, smashing through Bangladesh’s top order in the process and instantly justifying his return to the squad.
Although England’s score was their third-highest in World Cup history, it might have easily been higher, as the 400-run barrier looked very much in reach until Bangladesh’s bowlers mounted a late comeback to limit the damage.
The perfect foundation had been set by half-centuries from Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, who both shared hundred partnerships with Malan. However, with England 292 for two in the 40th over, they were losing wickets at a regular rate as they attempted to force a thrilling finish, but Mahedi Hasan (four for 71) and Shoriful Islam (three for 75) held their nerve. Ultimately, though, the collapse didn’t really matter.
After recovering from a fractured leg last year, Bairstow scored 50 in his 100th ODI cap, his first in the format. Meanwhile, Root’s 82 off 68 balls, which came after his 77 against New Zealand, allayed worries about his form leading up to the event.
But Malan was the main attraction. He carried on his incredible run in the One-Day Internationals, scoring a sixth century in just 23 career innings, all of which came in a different nation since the beginning of the home summer last year.
After smashing 16 fours and five sixes, Malan exclaimed, “It was a really nice wicket.” “It was an absolute belter to start, but it got a bit slower as it went on.”
As recently as one month ago, Malan’s status for England in the World Cup was still up in the air. However, the 36-year-old became unstoppable after winning player of the series against New Zealand at home.
After Bangladesh won the toss and decided to bowl first, the Yorkshire batsman took the early initiative. He managed to survive a review after being caught behind while en route to his fastest ODI half-century, coming up with 39 balls.
The only breakthrough of the first half of the game came when Shakib Al Hasan cleanly dismissed Bairstow. However, in a frantic attempt to get wickets, the Bangladesh skipper had risked on bowling himself out with eighteen overs remaining and must have been afraid of the consequences.
After hitting his century off of 91 balls, Malan went into overdrive against Mehidy Hasan, who cost 55 runs in six overs. He went four, six, six, four.
But soon after, a slower ball from Mahedi removed the opener, and then Root and Liam Livingstone were bowled out in quick succession by Shoriful, who had earlier put a sharp end to Buttler’s 20-ball cameo. Ultimately, a lower order that was somewhat debilitated by Topley’s decision to replace Moeen Ali was only able to generate 66 runs for six wickets from the last 10 overs.
Despite Ben Stokes’ hip injury, England’s one change in lineup from the Black Caps thrashing was soon paying off as Topley removed Tanzid Hasan and Najmul Shanto for one and nought in consecutive balls in his opening over. In his third over, Topley claimed the much-coveted wicket of Shakib with a magnificent swinging delivery.
While Chris Woakes appeared to be lacking rhythm, Liton Das claimed three boundaries in his opening over of the reply. However, Buttler remained loyal to the seamer, having Mehidy caught behind to put Bangladesh four down inside the powerplay.
Das played brilliantly for his 76 off of 66 balls, but when the run rate skyrocketed, Woakes’ return to the attack undid him as he too edged past ‘keeper Buttler. Shortly after hitting his own half-century, Surrey player Mushfiqur Rahim became Topley’s last victim, ending with figures of four for 43 from ten overs.
Bangladesh was batting with net run rate in mind by this point, but they were still unable to complete their allotted amount. Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, and Livingstone shared the wickets until, in a curious move, Sam Curran completed a sweeping performance for England’s bowlers, only to spear into middle position the next ball after being denied by a stubborn bail despite striking Taskin Ahmed’s leg stump.