Mahmudullah and Rahim trouble England in must-win match


ADELAIDE: Mohammad Mahmudullah became the first Bangladesh batsman to score a World Cup century as England’s bowlers met with unexpected resistance in a must-win Pool A match at the Adelaide Oval on Monday.

Mahmudullah scored 103 and Mushfiqur Rahim made 89 to lift the Tigers to a challenging 275 for seven after England captain Eoin Morgan won the toss and elected to field in overcast conditions.

Mahmudullah and Rahim, who are married to two sisters, put on 141 off 144 balls for the fifth wicket after Bangladesh were struggling at 99 for four in the 22nd over.

Mahmudullah, who hit seven fours and a six in his maiden one-day international century, surpassed the previous highest individual Bangladesh score at a World Cup of 95 by team-mate Tamim Iqbal against Scotland in Nelson last week.

Rahim’s 77-ball knock contained eight boundaries and a six.

England, with one win in four matches, must beat not only Bangladesh but also Afghanistan in Sydney on March 13 to stay in contention for the last eight.

Even that may not be enough if Bangladesh, who have five points to England’s two, upset co-hosts New Zealand in Hamilton on March 13 to squeak through to the quarter-finals.

Pace spearhead James Anderson doubled his haul of two wickets in the tournament by removing both left-handed openers Imrul Kayes and Tamim Iqbal in his first two overs to leave Bangladesh struggling at eight for two.

Kayes, who replaced the injured Anamul Haque in the squad, was dismissed off the fourth ball edging a catch to Chris Jordan at third slip.

Tamim fell to another catch close to the wicket, this time by Joe Root at second slip, but Bangladesh launched a spirited fightback in good batting conditions.

Soumya Sarkar, a 22-year-old left-hander playing only his fifth ODI, teamed up with Mahmudullah to retrieve the situation with an 86-run stand for the third wicket.

Sarkar hit five boundaries and a six in 40 when he gloved a short ball from Jordan to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler to make it 94 for three in the 21st over.

Five runs later, England earned a major scalp when off-spinner Moeen Ali had star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan edging a catch to Root in the slips.

Mahmudullah was run out in the 46th over and Rahim holed out in the deep two overs later, but England still conceded 78 runs in the last 10 overs.

Anderson and Jordan picked up two wickets each, but Chris Woakes went for 64 runs in 10 wicketless overs.

England made two changes from their previous game against Sri Lanka, bringing in attacking batsman Alex Hales and seamer Jordan in place of Gary Ballance and Steven Finn respectively.

Bangladesh also made two changes, dropping all-rounder Nasir Hossain and the injured Anamul Haque to play Kayes and left-arm spinner Arafat Sunny. -AFP