Champions Trophy: England v Bangladesh Preview

Batsman hits ball.

England and Bangladesh will get the the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy underway this Thursday.

The ICC Champions Trophy gets underway in the United Kingdom this week, where the eight highest ranked ODI teams will battle for a trophy second only in its limited-overs illustriousness to the World Cup.

Runners-up in 2004 and 2013, England will commence proceedings against a Bangladeshi unit which surprisingly qualified for the tournament ahead of the West Indies.

England vs Bangladesh | Thursday, 1 June 2017 | The Oval, London | 11:30

To Win Match
England 2/9 | Tie 35/1 | Bangladesh 33/10

England
The English will head into the match on the back of a convincing series victory over South Africa, who are currently at the top of the ODI rankings. From captain Eoin Morgan's authoritative century in the first fixture to seamer Mark Wood's death bowling in the second, the hosts were commanding throughout - and will relish the momentum ahead of Thursday's opener.

Importantly, they rested talismanic trio Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali for the third match against the Proteas, which afforded them the chance to experiment with bench strength and fresh combinations. This sort of forethought and adaptability will be key through Group A, particularly a Tigers outfit renowned for upsetting tournament favourites.

England have a peculiar penchant for slipping at the hands of smaller teams at major ICC tournaments and will want to avoid repeats of 2011's shock loss to Ireland - and 2009 and 2014's duo of defeats to the Netherlands. For all the money, marketing and player preparation put in by the ECB for this campaign, failure simply isn't an option for Morgan's men.

With several stars boosted by fine stretches of form in the Royal London One Day Cup and a handful of others buoyed by April and May's stints in the Indian Premier League, England's squad sports a solid balance not entirely evident in, say, Australia, South Africa or India's collectives. Home ground advantage, not in the cliched sense, too, is a hefty factor.

Bangladesh will sport a veritable plethora of spinners. England will be acutely aware of the need to not allow the slow bowlers to dictate proceedings. The way they handle the seasoned Shakib Al Hasan will be intriguing. The host batsmen could feasibly extract more runs from the veteran spinner by milking him for six or seven an over, rather than looking to bash him out of the attack.

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Bangladesh
Absent from the 2009 and 2013 competitions, the Tigers have earned a return in the wake of the Windies' woes - and their own timely run of good results. While captain Mashrafe Mortaza has done his best to hush expectation around the so-called 'giant slayers', plenty of anticipation remains - and certainly has them tipped as darkhorses.

In a pool also housing Australia and New Zealand, one surmises Thursday will bring Bangladesh's best chance at springing a surprise victory. The teams have met in ODI cricket on 19 occasions, with Bangladesh triumphant in only four of those, but all four have come in the past seven. Their recent form against the English, indeed, bodes well for Thursday.

England, however, will benefit from having played genuine ODI cricket against the South Africans in the lead-up to this match. Bangladesh, however, really just have the Dhaka Premier League, a few isolated appearances in the IPL - and Saturday's warm-up loss to Pakistan at Edgbaston in Birmingham to go on.

Their batting, regardless, was solid in that loss to Pakistan. Opener Tamim Iqbal's brisk ton set the foundation for quickfire cameos from the hard-hitting Imrul Kayes and wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim to follow. Several others followed suit. Their bowling, however, lacked zeal - and will require instant correction against a formidable England unit.

Iqbal aside, Mortaza's role will be massively important. While he is prone to injury, and it'll be a challenge for him to stand up to a full 10-over allotment, the stalwart seamer - with the ball and with the captaincy - has plenty of responsibility on his shoulders. The other fast bowlers, though, must offer sound support.

Verdict: England 2/9
While they've only managed to pull off three ODI victories over Bangladesh in their last seven meetings, and are suckers for major tournament embarrassment, England won't fluff this one - and should set themselves up for a reasonably successful Group A campaign.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for @Hollywoodbets.net

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