England produce highest run chase to open Champions Trophy
LONDON: England pulled off the highest successful run chase in Champions Trophy history when it beat Bangladesh by eight wickets in the opening match at The Oval on Thursday.
England hauled in Bangladesh's 305-6 by scoring 308-2 with 16 balls to spare in a brilliant start to the eighth championship.
"Three hundred is an easy score to get by playing real positive cricket," captain Eoin Morgan said.
An unbeaten 133 by a cramping Joe Root, a 95 by opener Alex Hales, and an unbeaten 75 by Morgan paced an aggressive England to what, in the end, was a comfortable win in sunny conditions.
England was on the receiving end of the previous highest chase in trophy history, a loss in 2013 to Sri Lanka, which made 297-3.
Bangladesh threatened the same punishment in its first one-day international on English soil in seven years by producing its highest score against England, and the eighth-best total in trophy history, 40 runs more than its previous best.
In a batsman-heavy side, the big contributor was their best, Tamim Iqbal, who made 128, the highest ever individual score for Bangladesh in the trophy. He combined for 166 with Mushfiqur Rahim, who was out for 79 straight after Tamim departed.
Their twin exits in the 45th over stalled Bangladesh, which embarrassed England at the last two Cricket World Cups.
"We were in a great position to score 330, 340, but we lost too many wickets late," captain Mashrafe Mortaza said.
Root joined Hales in the third over after the out-of-form Jason Roy was out for 1.
Hales led their partnership, scoring freely in front of the wicket. He'd just hit his 11th boundary and second six off part-time legspinner Sabbir Rahman when a slog sweep went straight to safe hands at deep midwicket, and he fell five runs short of a century.
Hales and Root combined for 159, and if Bangladesh thought it had finally made the breakthrough it was brought back to earth by Morgan, who settled in very quickly.
As Morgan slashed apart the Bangladesh bowling attack, Root continued to dice it with more subtlety, and reached his 10th ODI century with an easy two.
Root, whose right calf began cramping midway through his innings, finished the match with a pair of boundaries - Nos. 10 and 11 - for his highest ODI score, off 129 balls.
Morgan's 33rd half-century came off 61 balls and his knock of 75 included eight boundaries and two sixes.
England has successfully made 300-plus chases six times, four of them in the last two years.
"We're a side that's getting better at it," Root said.
Victory came at a price, though, for the bookies' title favorite. Chris Woakes, who opened the attack, bowled just two overs before leaving with a left side strain, the kind of injury which doesn't heal quickly.
Morgan said Woakes would be a big loss if he can't play, but also praised his other bowlers for making up for his absence.
"At one stage, Bangladesh looked like they were getting 330, and to peg it back from there I thought was a credit to (the bowlers)," he said. "They adapted to the longer boundary pretty well, and to wicket - it was a really good wicket to bat on."
Woakes was part of a four-pronged pace attack after Adil Rashid was left out to deny Bangladesh much spin. Liam Plunkett did the most damage, taking out Tamim and Mushfiqur in successive deliveries.
Tamim top-edged Plunkett and was caught behind, and Mushfiqur was caught on the boundary. Their departures stalled Bangladesh just when it needed to be surging.
Plunkett added Sabbir Rahman's wicket in the last over to finish with a team-best 4-59.
England plays New Zealand next on Tuesday in Group A. The New Zealanders face Australia on Friday.
Bangladesh has the Australians on Monday.