Belfast Telegraph

Morgan sure England will stay cool in bid to hit back

No worries: Eoin Morgan has faith in his England side
No worries: Eoin Morgan has faith in his England side

By Carl Markham

Eoin Morgan says England will not panic as they attempt to get their World Cup campaign back on track against Bangladesh.

Having started with victory over South Africa, the Three Lions were given a reality check by Pakistan on Monday.

They will aim to return to winning ways against the Tigers today in Cardiff and skipper Morgan insists they will not change their approach.

"All we talked about is sticking to what we do well, looking at our strengths," he said.

"Previous to the tournament starting, we talked about losing games - how would we react? What would we counter that with?

"Everything comes back to focusing on ourselves, how we win games of cricket and get the best out of ourselves."

England rotated their seam attack at Trent Bridge, bringing in Mark Wood for Liam Plunkett.

Conditions are expected to be more bowler friendly in Wales, meaning Plunkett could return in place of a spinner.

"We'll see another day where the wicket is under covers," Morgan said. "The pitches here have been a bit greener and more seamer friendly so that's a potential (option), yeah."

Bangladesh are in the same boat as England, having followed a win over South Africa with a loss.

The Tigers beat England at the last two World Cups, making them dangerous opponents.

"It is going to be a difficult game, they're a good side. I think people underestimate them but we certainly don't," Morgan added.

"Their senior players especially have played a lot of games, more so than our senior players. They are a threat but hopefully we can play well and overcome it."

Bangladesh are preparing to test the growing theory that England's big-hitting openers are vulnerable to spin.

The Tigers are keen to defeat their opponents for the third World Cup in a row and slow bowling is sure to form a big part of their blueprint.

Slow left-armer Shakib-Al-Hasan and off-spinner Mehedi Hasan Miraz will form a critical part of the Bangladesh attack and at least one of the pair is expected to take up new-ball duties - a growing trend against England's fearsome top-order partnership of Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow.

South Africa handed the first over of the tournament to wrist-spinner Imran Tahir and bagged Bairstow for a golden duck, while Shadab Khan dismissed Roy cheaply when Pakistan replicated the tactic.

Captain Mashrafe Mortaza said: "We know that Shakib is one of the biggest strengths for us all over the world and Miraz has been doing well for a long time.

"The last two years he's been doing so well for us with the new ball. These are tactics which we have seen against England, which South Africa started.

"So most of the teams (will be) taking these sort of tactics."

England captain Morgan, meanwhile, indicated his players were more than ready for the plan and have been preparing in earnest for it.

"Bangladesh will open with spin, definitely," he said. "I think it's just another challenge that the two guys have been presented with.

"It's like anything - when the ball swings it's a new challenge, guys bowl short and it's a new challenge, mystery spin is a new challenge. I'm sure they'll kick on."

Mortaza captained his country to their memorable victory in Adelaide in the corresponding fixture four years ago, with Shakib leading the side in Chattogram when they defeated England in the 2011 edition.

Those memories still burn bright but Mortaza does not believe they change the dynamic once play gets under way at Sophia Gardens.

"I don't think it's going to help us a lot. It's a new, fresh match," he said. "Both teams start from the first ball. We have beaten them the last two World Cups but that doesn't mean that we will make it happen again. Yes, there is a chance but for that we will have to play to our best."

• Pakistan and Sri Lanka were denied the chance to build on recent victories as their clash in Bristol became the first of the World Cup to fall foul of the weather.

Although the rain had eased off at around 2pm, umpires Nigel Llong and Ian Gould ruled there was no possibility of play because of a wet outfield, despite the best efforts of the ground staff.

Both teams, thrashed in their tournament openers before bouncing back with wins, have been awarded one point each as a result of the abandonment.

Pakistan were shot out for 105 by the West Indies at Trent Bridge but responded by upsetting hosts and favourites England in a high-scoring thriller at the same venue.

Sri Lanka, meanwhile, slumped to a 10-wicket hammering against New Zealand at Sophia Gardens before seeing off Afghanistan in a rain-reduced encounter in Cardiff.

But the prospects of starting on time in the south west were hit by the inclement weather and, though the rain eventually abated, it was decided half an hour before the final cut-off time of 4.15pm to call the game off.

Belfast Telegraph


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