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England look to avenge 2015 World Cup loss against Bangladesh
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England look to avenge 2015 World Cup loss against Bangladesh

Tournament hosts England look to build on their status as favourites to win the World Cup title as they take on a resurgent Bangladesh side in Cardiff on Saturday.

The last time these two teams met in a World Cup, Bangladesh completed a massive upset as they knocked out Eoin Morgan’s men in the first round of the 2015 edition of the tournament.

Since then, England’s limited overs unit has grown by leaps and bounds, experiencing an unprecedented rise in one-day internationals which is testified by their current hold over the number one spot in the rankings.

Much of this rise can be credited to England and Wales Cricket Board director Andrew Strauss, who instituted a wave of changes following the 2015 World Cup debacle, including the replacement of Peter Moores as coach of the side with Trevor Bayliss.

Despite beginning their tournament campaign on a strong note beating South Africa in a one-sided contest at the Oval, England now find themselves on the back foot after a surprising 14-run loss to Pakistan on Monday.

England’s one-dimensional bowling attack was exposed against an impressive batting performance from Pakistan that saw them rack up 348 runs in their allotted quota of overs.

England’s sloppy show in the field was another area of concern as the players whittled under the pressure of a noisy section of the Pakistani supporters at Trent Bridge.

Jofra Archer and Jason Roy, in particular, were found guilty of breaching the professional code of conduct on the field and were duly fined a percentage of their match fee.

Even England all-rounder Chris Woakes had a brief moment of tussle with the crowd as he brought his index finger to his lips after taking a catch, to silence the Pakistan fans in the stadium.

This trend is expected to continue at Sophia Gardens on Saturday, as Asian sides generally tend to draw a lot of crowd support in the UK.

England pacer Liam Plunkett, however, is unfazed by such a scenario developing and optimistically claimed his teammates were mentally strong enough to withstand a hostile reception.

"Pakistan are pretty good like that, they can get niggly. When they're on top they're good at doing it," said the 34-year-old.

"Similarly Bangladesh and India, they're good at doing that, good at appealing quite a lot. It's just the way they play their cricket.

"But we've played in big competitions, guys have played around the world - at IPL (Indian Premier League) and Big Bash in front of big crowds -- it shouldn't be too much for the players."

‘Losing to Bangladesh is not an upset’

Meanwhile, Bangladesh put up a spirited fightback against New Zealand to reduce the margin of victory to just two wickets, after the Kiwis were at one stage cruising to victory.

The Tigers already have two points under their belt as they beat South Africa by 21 runs in their opening game of the tournament, and Plunkett has admitted Bangladesh cannot be considered minnows anymore.

"There's no real shock defeats in this competition," he insisted. "We've already seen Bangladesh beat South Africa and that's not a shock defeat.

"They're a strong squad. I remember when they beat England way back when (in Bristol, 2010) and it was a shock defeat.

"I don't think them beating teams like South Africa is like that anymore."

Liam Dawson could get his debut World Cup game as the England management may decide to rest Adil Rashid who fared poorly in the clash against Pakistan and recently underwent a shoulder injury.

‘We will have to play our best cricket’ - Mashrafe

Bangladesh head into the match with fond memories of their 2005 ODI win over Australia at the same venue and they will surely be recalling that spectacular triumph for inspiration to overcome the number one-ranked England.

Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza will expect his experienced middle order to fire once again and take the English bowlers to task.

Also Read: Victory against South Africa shouldn't be considered an upset, says Mortaza

He acknowledged the fact it won't be easy to tame hosts England and claimed his team were in good spirits, fresh from an admirable show against New Zealand.

"I think they (England) are one of the biggest sides in this tournament. It's not going to be easy, we knew that," said Mashrafe.

"But again, if we can play our best possible cricket, you never know."