Joe Root’s century allowed England to cruise to a comfortable eight-wicket win over Bangladesh in the Champions Trophy.
Warm, summer conditions welcomed the players to the Oval on Saturday as England and Bangladesh locked horns in the opening match of the 2017 Champions Trophy. Despite being the pre-tournament favourites, England would have gone into this clash wary of the fact that their Group A opponents had beaten them in the past two World Cups, and claimed a shock Test victory in October last year.
Eoin Morgan won the toss, and on a deck suited to the batsmen, opted to field. Bangladesh made an ideal start to their innings as openers Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar put on an opening stand of 56 runs, before Sarkar fell for 28 (four fours, one six) to Ben Stokes.
Though Imrul Kayes stayed at the crease long enough to advance the score to 95, it was the partnership that followed that laid the foundation for a competitive Bangladeshi total.
Mushfiqur Rahim and Iqbal combined for a 166-run partnership that lasted the best part of 33 overs. The pair kept the scoreboard ticking over nicely, with good running between the wickets mixed in with the odd boundary to keep the run-rate hovering at around six runs to the over.
Iqbal brought up his ninth career ODI ton off 124 balls in the 39th over with a flick off the pads for a single off Moeen Ali. He proceeded to add a further 28 runs before departing for a solid 128 that included 12 fours and three sixes in the 45th over.
The loss of Rahim shortly thereafter for 79 (eight fours) hindered Bangladesh’s finish somewhat. In spite of this, a late-innings cameo from Sabbir Rahman (24) helped Bangladesh to a more than respectable 305-6 in their 50 overs. It was their highest score against England and their third-highest outside of Asia.
Liam Plunkett was the pick of the England bowlers, finishing with figures of 4-59, which included the all-important scalps of Iqbal and Rahim.
England’s reply got off to a wobbly start after the out-of-sorts Jason Roy was dismissed by Masrafe Mortaza for just one in the third over. A mammoth 159-run second-wicket stand between Alex Hales (95) and Joe Root (133) followed to advance England’s total to 165-2 at the end of the 27th over.
Though Hales fell five runs short of what would have been a fantastic century, his side were well on their way to victory. Captain Eoin Morgan provided fantastic support to Root as the pair reached the 200-run mark in the 35th over.
From there the two England batsmen kept the runs flowing, despite Root struggling a bit after rolling his ankle. Root brought up his 10th ODI ton in the 42nd over with a two off Mortaza.
England put their foot on the accelerator by taking 11 runs from the 45th over, followed by a further 16 off the next. Root finished the match in style by hitting Mosaddek Hossain for a four to close out victory with 16 balls to spare.
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