England v Bangladesh
Live on Sky Sports Cricket
England under pressure
Defeat by Pakistan will either be the wake-up call that supposed champions-elect England require or further evidence that they're not as good as they're cracked up to be. They could be grateful for meeting a Bangladesh team with a poor record. Or they could be plunged into crisis against a feisty opponent.
England have two problems to solve. That's one more than they started the tournament with. The form, or perhaps temperament, of Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow will cause concern. Both have looked nervous, Roy in particular in the field against Pakistan. South Africa and Pakistan have attacked them with spin from ball one, a smart move.
The other issue is leaky bowling. We've said it time and time again that they are too short on the outright when they struggle with the most important discipline of all. They will come under pressure until they get tighter. Concedeing a total to set up a World Cup record chase against Pakistan added to the pressure on that batting. As good as it is, it will creak.
Bangladesh got off to a roaring start by downing South Africa in their opener. Some of the lustre has been lost since, however, as South Africa appear to be a team in crisis.
Of more importance was Bangladesh's effort against New Zealand. It was solid for spells but not good enough to trouble one of the strongest sides in the tournament. True, New Zealand had a wobble at the death in the chase but the market never had any doubts.
Still, they like to attack, particularly with the bat. Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar will not die wondering safe in the knowledge that Shakib-al-Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahman are reliable behind them. They bat deep, too, with Mashrafe Mortaza able to give it a tonk at No 10.
Spin is a big part of their weaponry in the field. England could face 30 overs of spin unless they disrupt one from Shakib, Mehidy Hasan and Mosadkek Hossain. Mustafizur Rahman and Mortaza are excellent pace options.
Cardiff worries England
Cardiff has bad memories for England. On a tacky wicket, which infuriated England captain Eoin Morgan, they were knocked out of the Champions Trophy two years ago by Pakistan. The first-innings scores in the last eight scores in internationals (1/2 denote game won by side batting first or second) read: 201-1/136-2/342-1/211-2/236-2/265-2/310-1/302-2. England will surely be perturbed by the two most recent low scores by Sri Lanka against New Zealand and Afghanistan respectively. Nine of the last 16 have been won by the chaser.
No option but to bet outsiders
England are 1.171/6 and Bangladesh 6.611/2. When the odds are so heavy in favour of hosts, who we believe have issues, there is only one thing to do: bet the outsider.
The thrust for the wager is the Cardiff pitch. If it is sticky, that could well bring Bangladesh slap bang into the game. If it's a road, as it was when England duffed up Australia last year, then there's not much hope for them. An overcast weather forecast might help reduce the gulf, too, although we are aware that the Bangladesh batting is hugely vulnerable to a seaming and swinging ball.
We've got a gamble on our hands, then. Keep stakes sensible and it may even be smart to lay off if Bangladesh come in a chunk with spinners causing Morgan to have flashbacks.
Roy not the boy
Roy blasted 120 off 108 against Australia but he's no fun at the prices, as explained in Cric-o-nomics. Joe Root top scored in that disaster against Pakistan but, again, he's not value. Roy and Root are 11/4 and 10/3 respectively with Sportsbook.
For Bangladesh, we're keen on Tamim at 7/2 (Sportsbook) because he has a better hit-rate than those odds suggest. Finally, a word on the 13/8 that Bangladesh beat England in the first five-overs dash. Tamim and Soumya are thrusters who give it a crack. We don't expect them to hold back. England might be more cautious as Roy and Bairstow try to counter the spin threat.
Ed has more on the top bat and bowler markets in Graeme Swann's match preview.