A tremendous weekend of sport ahead once again, and the first order of business is the men’s cricket World Cup, in which England take on Bangladesh in Cardiff. England are a mighty side in this format, but Bangladesh have some tremendous bowlers, and they’ve beaten England more times than they have lost in these tournaments. Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Mortaza, for one, sounds like he has had enough of Bangladesh being patted on the head.
“You are meaning that that was an upset?” he bristled at one journalist after the South Africa win. I for one firmly expected Bangladesh to beat the hapless Saffers, and I am sure that England will be expecting one of their tougher assignments in the tournament here. Or at least they jolly well should be.
Cardiff has generally favoured spin over the years and that is the strong suit for the Bangladesh side.
So what have we seen in the tournament so far? The one and only Scyld Berry has been casting his eye over the trends and fashions of the day and this is what he concludes. The trends of the Cricket World Cup so far, from short, aggressive bowling to the dangers of batting first
One of the things that Scyld pulls out is that the short ball is back in vogue.
The West Indian fast bowlers are all from Jamaica: Oshane Thomas, Sheldon Cottrell and Andre Russell. The three of them reduced Pakistan to 62-4 (to be dismissed for 105) and Australia to 38-4. It is doubtful whether any previous World Cup has seen such aggressive short-pitched fast bowling.
Ball-tracking data only goes back as far as the 2007 World Cup, but it is safe to say this tournament has seen a higher percentage of short balls (45 per cent) – pitching more than eight metres short of the batsman’s stumps – than in the previous three tournaments.
To that end, or at least to that point, it looks like England will go to their strengths: seam bowling in a bid to tame the Tigers.
We’ll have details of the men who will be doing that shortly and also the toss.
One fly in the oinkment: weather is not good.