England through as Tigers subside
England’s progression to the quarter-finals of the World Cup was confirmed today as South Africa thrashed Bangladesh by 206 runs in Dhaka - a result that almost certainly eliminates the co-hosts.
A surprise win for Bangladesh would have given West Indies the opportunity to knock England out of the competition with victory over India tomorrow.
However, Shakib Al Hasan’s side, who were bowled out for just 58 by West Indies earlier in the group, paid the ultimate price for an abysmal batting display as they subsided to 78 all out in reply to South Africa’s 284 for eight.
South Africa are now guaranteed to finish top of Group B and will be joined in the last eight by England and India, while West Indies - regardless of the outcome tomorrow - are virtually assured of qualification at the expense of Bangladesh due to their vastly superior net run-rate.
Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis and Francois Du Plessis all passed 50 for South Africa as they posted a healthy total after winning the toss at the Shere Bangla National Stadium.
With premier pacemen Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel both being rested, left-arm pace bowler Lonwabo Tsotsobe then took centre stage, removing three of Bangladesh’s top four in his first four overs en route to fine figures of 3-14. He was only required to bowl five overs.
The home fans streamed towards the exits as wickets continued to tumble at regular intervals and slow left-armer Robin Peterson finished with 4-12 from seven overs as South Africa bowled their opponents out with 22 overs unused.
"We gave a few guys an extra two days to rest," said South Africa captain Graeme Smith. "It was exciting to see the new guys coming in and doing so well.
"Lopsy (Lonwabo) has been terrific for us. It was difficult to leave him out. Robbie has been playing really well for a while now; he is coming into his own. The bowling unit is bowling really well."
Shakib’s futile 30 stood out in a sorry looking scorecard in which the next highest score was a mere eight. It was a miserable way for Bangladesh’s participation in the competition to come to an end.
"We missed a big opportunity in this World Cup," admitted Shakib. "We thought we will qualify for the next round but we haven't played good cricket in this tournament.
"We haven't finished this tournament in the way we wanted - it can happen in cricket. We need to look back and see what we have done wrong."
South Africa’s first wicket yielded more than the entire Bangladesh team, with Amla and Smith adding 98 inside 21 overs.
Although both fell in quick succession – Smith, on 45, stumped giving Mahmudullah the charge and Amla playing on for 51 as he attempted to drive Abdur Razzak – Kallis assumed responsibility for setting a sizeable total.
Despite seeing JP Duminy caught via glove as he aimed leg side, Kallis drove with his usual elan in making 69 off 76 balls, an innings containing five fours and a swept six off Naeem Islam which preceded his dismissal to Shakib.
Du Plessis, who rotated the strike adroitly throughout his innings of 52, responded by taking 14 off three Razzak deliveries before chipping a Rubel Hossain full toss to mid-off.
Kallis and Du Plessis were among the five wickets to fall in the final six overs – Rubel finished with 3-56 - but any sense that Bangladesh had regained a foothold in the match were dispelled moments into their reply.
They were were four down within eight overs, with the impressive Tsotsobe – playing his first game of the World Cup – accounting for Tamim Iqbal, caught behind pulling; Imrul Kayes, bowled offering no shot; and Shahriar Nafees, playing on as he drove loosely.
Matters did not improve for Bangladesh, whose plight was rather summed up by the fact that Mahmudullah was run out chasing a single to short third man to leave them 58 for six.
Peterson continued his fine World Cup as he ran through the tail, adding the wickets of Shakib, Shafiul and Naeem to his earlier dismissal of Mushfiqur Rahim as South Africa completed what could only be described as a demolition.
With Bangladesh’s hopes now purely mathematical, all that remains to be decided is where India, West Indies and England will finish in Group B.