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February 11, 2006
England 156 for 5 (Chopra 40) beat Bangladesh 155 (Mushfiqur Rahim 27, Mullaney 3 for 26) by five wickets
England's Steven Mullaney and Graeme White ran through Bangladesh's batting lineup to propel their side into the Super League semi-finals.
England, who went through an entire tour of Bangladesh in November and December without winning a single one of their 11 matches, came into this quarter-final clash off the back of a defeat to Zimbabwe. However, presented with a knock-out situation, Moeen Ali and his attack responded superbly by dismissing the previously unbeaten Bangladesh side for just 155 in 48.2 overs. They knocked off the required total in a little over 43 overs, with Mullaney adding an unbeaten 15.
Mullaney led the way with the ball, initially, with 3 for 26 but White, one of England's players of the tournament so far, performed outstandingly. The left-arm spinner conceded an astonishingly economical 11 runs from his 10 overs, and snaffled the key wicket of Md. Shamsur Rahman for 22.
Apart from Shamsur, the only Bangladesh batsman to reach 20 was captain Mushfiqur Rahim, who made 27 before he became one of Mullaney's victims. The only blemish on England's excellent performance was the 13 wides they conceded, and the five wickets they lost during their run-chase.
Ali, England's captain, was understandably thrilled at his side's effort - and in particular, the performance of White. "Graeme's spell was unbelievable," said Ali afterwards. "To have a bowler perform like that is unreal and Nick James played his part too.
"In the warm-up matches we bowled out India, one of the tournament favourites, cheaply and I thought then if we could do that against them then we could do it against anyone.
"We just looked to build up the pressure today and Bangladesh probably let us bowl to them a little bit," he added.
"It is almost too hard to explain what this means because this victory is something we have wanted for ages."
Although a seemingly modest total set by Bangladesh, the knock-out scenario of the match placed immense pressure on England's batsmen, especially given Mark Stoneman's fall for just two. That brought Mark Nelson to the crease, a player drafted into the squad following that disastrous Bangladesh tour, who took the initiative away from the Bangladesh bowlers.
He clobbered 32 from 25 balls with two fours and three sixes, and with Varun Chopra, the captain of that ill-fated trip, making a responsible 40, Ali scoring 24 and Hamilton-Brown making an unbeaten 23, England eased home with plenty in hand.
"Mark hit his second ball out of the ground and that really got us going," said Ali. "And the win was brilliant for Varun. He has been very good because he must have been disappointed [to lose the captaincy] but for him to bat the way he did was a captain's dream."
Ali, whose side now face India in the semi-finals, was quietly confident of England's chances against the tournament favourites:
"We beat them in the warm-ups and I think it will be good to play them," he said. "We went to India last winter and got smashed so it would be good to get one over on them."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Shorter tours don't allow you time to get into form, and domestic cricket isn't demanding enough