Hosts England shall be taking on giant killers Bangladesh in the opening game of the Champions Trophy at the Oval on Thursday. The multi-nation showpiece event features eight of the best ODI sides in international cricket.
England and Bangladesh are drawn with Australia and New Zealand in Group A of the tournament.Meanwhile, defending champs India, South Africa, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are placed in Group B.
The England team who now is a force to reckon with in ODI cricket after their resurgence in the limited overs arena post the 2015 World Cup debacle would go in as favourites to win the match. Meanwhile, Bangladesh once considered as minnows in one day cricket can no longer be taken lightly as the 'Bangla Tigers' have the arsenal to upset any side on their day.It is notable that Bangladesh had knocked out England from the 2015 World Cup.
England shall come into the opener high on confidence with an impressive 2-1 win over South Africa in the recently concluded home series. Meanwhile, Bangladesh was handed a crushing 240 run defeat by defending champs India in their warm-up game at the Oval on Tuesday.
England has a formidable batting line-up comprising of some elegant stroke-makers and destructive power hitters. The hosts have the firepower up front with dangerous hitters in Sam Billings, Alex Hales and Jason Roy.The middle order looks well settled with classy and ever dependable Joe Root. Meanwhile, skipper Eoin Morgan can step up the momentum in the innings with some lusty hits. In Jos Butler they have arguably the most destructive wicketkeeper in international cricket.
The side is blessed with some quality allrounders in Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali who lend depth and balance to their side. The English pace attack would relish bowling in seam friendly conditions on home soil. Though the team is without the services of their seasoned seamers James Anderson and Stuart Broad, they still have a potent pace attack comprising of Chris Woakes, David Willey and Mark Wood. Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid shall serve as the spin twins for the side.
Bangladesh has improved by leaps and bounds in One Day Cricket. It is commendable that they made the cut ahead of West Indies and Zimbabwe in this edition of the Champions Trophy. Bangladesh has some dangerous exponents with the willow in Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar and Sabbir Rahman who can play some blinders to unnerve the opposition. The middle order looks compact and well settled with experience in the form of Mushfiqur Rahim and ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hassan.
Bangladesh has quality in their seam attack with the experienced pace spearhead Mashrafe Mortaza and promising young seamers in Taskin Ahmed and Rubel Hossain. Meanwhile, the Bangladesh side has some world class spinners in Sakib Al Hassan and Mehedi Hasan who can cast a web if they get to bowl on turning tracks.
So it is all set for a cracker of a game on a bowling friendly track at the Oval in London on Thursday. Both the sides would aim for a win and get their campaign off to the right start.