Tiger Hunting – The Full Toss
We shouldn’t let the ODI series in Bangladesh go unmentioned. Yes, it was ‘only Bangladesh’, but not everybody realises that the Tigers are rather handy in their own backyard. In fact, England are the only side to have won a bilateral ODI series in Bangladesh since 2015. And now we’ve done it twice! It’s an impressive achievement.
Who were our stars in the 2-1 series win? Two familiar faces excelled with the bat. Jason Roy returned to form with 155 runs at an average of 52 (although the lion’s share came in one innings). And Dawid Malan followed suit with 125 runs at 63 on the back of an impressive 114*. As for the bowlers, Adil Rashid, Sam Curran and Jofra Archer took plenty of wickets and all averaged under 15. Pretty useful, eh?
The only slight disappointment from the series is that the less experienced, or perhaps I should say ‘fringe’ players, missed opportunities to cement their places. Phil Salt, Will Jacks and James Vince did little to put pressure on the established names that will inevitable return for the World Cup.
So what’s up next? You won’t be surprised to learn that the schedulers have crammed in a quick T20 series, too. Well, why not? There’s money to be made. What’s more, the games could prove to be quite entertaining.
England are, of course, the World T20 champions. So this tour presents a perfect opportunity to seal our reputation as short-form kings. We can also try to recreate that dominant win over Bangladesh in the 2021 T20 World Cup – we restricted them to 124-9 (thanks to an inspired performance by Tymal Mills) and then knocked off the runs in just 14 overs. The standout with the bat in that game? A certain Jason Roy, again.
England will be fielding a team with a different feel this time, though. Eoin Morgan, who captained the side in that 2021 contest, has long since retired. There will also be no Liam Livingstone or Jonny Bairstow on this occasion. Ben Duckett, Reece Topley, and teenage phenom Rehan Ahmed should bring a fresh vibe to proceedings. I’m particularly keen to see how the latter gets on.
What’s interesting, however, is that Will Jacks is out injured but, thus far, England have not called up a replacement. This is slightly odd because I thought the squad looked a batsman light to begin with. Our depth, therefore, looks a bit threadbare. The likes of Moeen and Sam Curran will definitely have to step up. Indeed, young Sam might find himself coming in as high as No.6. Hmmm.
As for Bangladesh, they’ve picked a few new faces, too. Towhid Hridoy is arguably the most eye-catching one because he scored an impressive 403 runs in the Bangladesh Premier League. He’s also a former Bangladesh U19 star that’s been touted by some as the next big thing.
Left-arm spinner Tanvir Islam also starred in the Bangladesh Premier League with a tally of 18 wickets – an achievement not to be sniffed at. Another one to watch is Taskin Ahmed, who impressively turned down an offer to play in the Pakistan Premier League in order to face England. Good lad.
However, despite the new faces, Bangladesh will inevitably lean on their more established stars, too. Shakib remains one of the best all-round cricketers in the world – as he proved, yet again, in the recent ODI series. The experienced Mustafizur Rahman is obviously another lynchpin. Najmul Hossain Shanto, who averaged 37 in the ODIs, and Medidy Hasan Miraz, who took 5 wickets, are also decent performers.
So who’s going to win? England are understandably favourites. We’re on a roll and playing with confidence. However, I am slightly concerned about that batting depth. Therefore, it would be foolish to rule out Bangladesh – especially as T20 cricket can be so unpredictable. Head over to BettingLounge if you have a strong inkling and fancy putting your money where your mouth is.
The other question, of course, is whether more eyes will be on this series or the climax of the PSL, which ends on the 19th. In my opinion, international cricket, even T20Is, will always be more important than some contrived contest between artificial franchises. Whether the wider public agrees, however, is very much up for debate.
TFT Prediction: England to win 2-1
England Squad: Jos Buttler (c & wk), Phil Salt (wk), Jofra Archer, Mark Wood, Dawid Malan, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Ben Duckett, Will Jacks, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Rehan Ahmed, Reece Topley, Chris Woakes
Bangladesh Squad: Shakib Al Hasan (Captain), Litton Das, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Afif Hossain, Mehedi Hasan Miraz, Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed, Hasan Mahmud, Nasum Ahmed, Nurul Hasan Sohan, Shamim Hossain, Rony Talukdar, Towhid Hridoy, Rejaur Rahman Raja and Tanvir Islam