England expect easy win over in their Champions Trophy opener
But Bangladesh opener Tamim could sparkle at Oval
Sky Sports 2, 10.30am Thursday
The Champions Trophy should feature plenty of tight contests as the world’s top eight one-day teams compete for the title but bookmakers expect a predictable start to the tournament when hosts England take on 66-1 outsiders Bangladesh at The Oval.
The Tigers, 4-1 to stun the trophy favourites in the Group A opener, have won four of their last seven 50-over meetings with England.
However, Eoin Morgan’s side – stung by a spectacular batting collapse against South Africa at Lord’s on Monday – have the focus and all-round talent to avoid an early slip-up.
England had already sealed a series victory over the Proteas before sliding to 20-6 in treacherous batting conditions in the third ODI and Bangladesh’s final prep game ended with a 240-run thumping by India at The Oval.
The Tigers were bowled out for just 84 in overcast conditions and England’s pace bowlers should provide them with another serious examination.
Morgan’s men had won eight straight ODIs before the dead-rubber
defeat at Lord’s, conjuring up a two-run victory from a seemingly hopeless position at the Rose Bowl last weekend.
The home supporters will expect a far wider margin of victory against Bangladesh and England should oblige before going on to tougher tests against New Zealand and Australia.
The Oval hosts six matches in the tournament, including the final, and high-scoring encounters can generally be expected.
New Zealand smashed 398-5 in 2015 – and still won by just 13 runs on the D/L method – while England comfortably chased 306 to beat Sri Lanka in a game reduced to 42 overs last year.
Jason Roy struck 162 in that win – the ninth time in 12 Oval ODIs in which the side batting second were victorious.
Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali should return although Stokes may not be fit enough to bowl a full ten overs. Opener Roy is likely to keep his place despite a run of low scores.
Skipper Mashrafe Mortaza and opener Tamim Iqbal are back for the Tigers after sitting out their warm-up walloping by India.
Cloudy but little threat of rain with light winds and highs of 24C.
Bangladesh’s openers will be steeling themselves to face some high-quality new-ball spells against England, Australia and New Zealand but Tamim Iqbal should come into the tournament in confident mood.
Rested for Tuesday’s defeat to India, Tamim struck 102 against Pakistan at Edgbaston in their previous warm-up game and his five innings on the tour of Ireland (against New Zealand, Ireland and Ireland A) were 65, 47, 23, 64 not out and 86.
At 28, the dynamic left-hander has cooled the impetuous streak than affected his shot selection in the past and since the 2015 World Cup his ODI average is 55, with four centuries and eight fifties in 27 innings.
Bangladesh wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim is another key batsman for the underdogs and bet365’s performance points line of 40.5 – one per run, ten per catch and 25 per stumping – looks well within the Mighty Atom’s grasp.
His performance make-ups at the 2015 World Cup were 71, 36, 80, 129 (in the win over England), 15 and 52 while he scored 55 and 45 not out in two games against New Zealand in Ireland last month.
T Iqbal top Bangladesh runscorer
1pt 3-1 general
M Rahim over 40.5 performance points
2pts 5-6 bet365