- Ali’s rapid half-century inspires England
- Holders finalise preparation with 4 wicket victory over Bangladesh
- Conway impresses in New Zealand win
England comfortably won their World Cup warm up match against Bangladesh, inspired by a quick-fire fifty from Moeen Ali. Thursday’s opponents New Zealand secured a seven run win over South Africa on the DLS method in their warm-up fixture.
Ali and Topley inspire England to convincing win
In their final preparations for their defence of the upcoming 50-over World Cup, England secured a convincing four-wicket victory over Bangladesh. Ali stole the show with a blazing 56 off 39 balls, including six powerful sixes, as England comfortably chased down a revised target of 197 with an impressive 77 balls to spare in Guwahati.
Reece Topley was the standout bowler, claiming figures of 3-23, as Bangladesh managed to post 188-9 from their allotted 37 overs. A three-hour rain delay interrupted the middle of Bangladesh’s innings, but England maintained their focus, consistently taking wickets and leaving Bangladesh at 153-5 off 30 overs when the rain arrived.
Despite a shaky start after losing the toss and being asked to bowl, England’s bowlers, including Topley and Sam Curran, bounced back admirably. The team’s resilience was on full display after the rain delay, with David Willey (2-26) taking two wickets in as many balls, while Topley and Curran (1-23) also made vital contributions.
Jos Buttler demonstrated the options available to England by utilising all nine of his main bowlers, and must take credit for the way in which he used them. It was a welcome sight to see Mark Wood (1-9) and Adil Rashid (2-27) back in action after battling against injuries.
England faced an early setback with Dawid Malan (four) departing swiftly, but they quickly rallied to reach 100-3 within the first 10 overs. Jonny Bairstow, who received treatment for a lower back injury, made a brisk 34 off 21, supported by Harry Brook’s 17 off 15. Buttler contributed 30, and though Moeen’s explosive innings came to an end just shy of victory, Joe Root’s composed 26 off 40, along with Chris Woakes, saw England over the finish line.
Reflecting on the match, Moeen expressed its importance when speaking to Sky Sports, stating:
“It was very valuable. We didn’t have the first warm-up [because it was rained off against India] but it was important for the bowlers to bowl, us to spend time in the field and some batters to get time in the middle in these conditions. It is very valuable before the World Cup.”
New Zealand in seven run win over South Africa
In another warm-up encounter, England’s opponents on Thursday, New Zealand, posted an imposing total of 321-6 against South Africa. Skipper Kane Williamson, initially uncertain for the upcoming match against England, continued his comeback and made a solid 37 before retiring. Opener Devon Conway impressed with a composed 78 off 73 balls, but then left the field with an injury. New Zealand fans will hope that the retirements of both Williamson and Conway were simply precautionary measures.
South Africa’s response stood at 211-4 after 37 overs, with opener Quinton de Kock leading the charge with an unbeaten 84. However, rain intervened, leaving them seven runs behind on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.
Although both warm-up matches were affected by the rain, they served their purpose for all four teams. England looked confident and were convincing winners, something that punters will note.
New Zealand skipper Williamson may make the England match after all, after a knock of 37. Williamson was thought to have been ruled out of the opening match with a knee injury.
At the time of writing, Betway have 2019 champions England as second favourites to win the World Cup, priced at 3/1, with hosts India favourites at 2/1. New Zealand, finalists in the last two editions, are seen as outsiders at 10/1.
Betway currently make England strong favourites to beat the Kiwis in the opener, with the holders priced at 2/5 with New Zealand 8/5.
Odds are correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.
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