by: Atika Mehboob TN Sports Pakistan:
After a disappointing start to the World Cup, reigning champions England bounced back emphatically, defeating Bangladesh by a significant 137 runs in Dharamsala. The magnificent score of 364 for 9 was majorly due to Dawid Malan’s spectacular World Cup century, his fourth of the year. Reece Topley’s return saw him decimate the Bangladeshi top order, making the challenging target even more unattainable.
In the scenic HPCA Stadium, with the Himalayas as the backdrop, England’s openers, Malan and Jonny Bairstow, built a commendable partnership. This set the stage for Malan and Joe Root to further anchor the innings. However, in the last phase, Bangladesh’s bowlers, notably Shoriful Islam and Mahedi Hasan, managed to control the English onslaught.
Despite England’s sudden decline towards the end, Bangladesh faced an uphill battle from the start. Their goal was even more challenging, given it was higher than any they had previously chased in ODIs. Their situation worsened when Topley quickly dismantled their top order. Litton Das and Mushfiqur Rahim did put up some resistance, but their efforts only managed to make the scoreboard look a bit more respectable.
England’s decisive win was crucial in rebuilding their confidence after a tough loss in Ahmedabad. Although they were put into bat, their top order came through, with Malan being the standout performer. Malan’s confident stroke play was evident from the get-go, and he showcased his vast array of shots. Bangladesh did have an opportunity to dismiss him early on, but a decision review went in Malan’s favor.
While Malan was the aggressor, Bairstow played a more measured role. Celebrating his 100th ODI, he achieved his first fifty since July 2022 before falling to Shakib Al Hasan. Joe Root then stepped in, quickly finding his rhythm and moving past Graham Gooch as England’s top scorer in World Cups.
As England seemed poised to cross the 400-run mark, Malan’s wicket shifted the momentum. Subsequent batsmen, including captain Jos Buttler, couldn’t maintain the pace, leading to a late resurgence by Bangladesh’s bowlers.
Bangladesh had enjoyed a victory against Afghanistan on the same pitch earlier, but facing England was a different ball game. Topley’s exceptional bowling, claiming top-order wickets, put the match firmly in England’s grasp. Bangladesh did persevere, but England’s bowlers were in control throughout, ensuring the defending champions bounced back convincingly in the tournament.