Bangladesh v England, Super Eights, Barbados April 11, 2007

Bizarre chants and stodgy batting



Andrew Flintoff had another arm ball coming his way and he didn't expect it © Getty Images

Top shot
There's a touch of arrogance about Saqibul Hasan that makes him so entertaining to watch. Even with five wickets down, he didn't retreat into a shell, and when Andrew Flintoff pitched one a little too wide, he rocked back and sent the ball soaring over backward point. It cleared the rope by a foot - the shot of a cornered tiger rather than a meek mouse.

Armed and dangerous
In his previous over, Mohammad Rafique had Flintoff in all sorts of trouble with an arm ball. When he produced another, there was no response, just statuesque football and a half-hearted prod that did nothing to keep the ball from the stumps.

Comedy of errors
Habibul Bashar admitted later that he was cursing the loss of another wicket when Shahriar Nafees looped one up towards Michael Vaughan at short midwicket. By the time he heard the shout of "He's dropped it", it was too late, and Vaughan's throw to Paul Nixon - more in frustration than anything, he said later - gave England another wicket. Remember that old adage about keeping your eye on the ball?

Net run-rate? What's that?
With wickets falling and the tail to come, Nixon and Paul Collingwood played out 22 dot balls with just eight runs needed. Given that run-rate might be the clinching factor for a semi-final place, it was almost as perplexing as Graeme Smith's decision to give himself five overs (56 runs) against West Indies.

Sing when you're (barely) winning
No one could complain about the atmosphere though. The English fans were in fine voice, belting out Kumbaya and Rule Britannia, in addition to the usual Barmy Army chants. Father Christmas led the choir for Kumbaya, though the costume probably wasn't such a good idea given the intense heat.

How bizarre
No, we're not talking about the 1996 hit from OMC, but about a group of fans who kept chanting, "India, India" midway through the Bangladesh innings. But even they were eclipsed in the Joke of the Day stakes by another character who was waving a flag that said: East or West, India is the Best. Too much sun perhaps?

Dileep Premachandran is associate editor of Cricinfo

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