Chittagong, March 12 Bangladesh proved they were made of sterner stuff as they held their nerves to score a dramatic two-wicket victory over England in a World Cup Group B match here Friday. England now definitely need to beat the West Indies in their final group match to avoid an ignominious exit from the mega event.
In the end, building on an 82-run partnership for the fourth wicket, it was an unbroken ninth wicket stand of 58 between Mahmudullah (21) and Shafiul Islam (24), comprising some lusty hitting, that saw Bangladesh to 227 in 49 overs for their second win over England in a One-day International. Bangladesh had been set a target of 226.
It was Bangladesh's third major victory in the World Cup, having defeated Pakistan in the 1999 edition and India in 2007.
It was also England's second loss in the 2011 World Cup, having gone down to Ireland in a group match.
Chasing England's 225, Bangladesh looked on course with Imrul Kayes (60) and captain Shakib-al-Hasan (32) adding 82 runs for the fourth wicket. But after Kayes was run out in the 31st over, the co-hosts lost four wickets for just 15 runs and slumped from 155 for four to 169 for eight in the 40th over at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.
While defending a small total, Andrew Strauss' team produced an excellent fightback but their 33 extras proved decisive.
Ajmal Shahzad (three for 43) produced a wonderful spell with the old ball, but pace spearhead James Anderson gave away 16 runs in the 42nd over that tilted the match in Bangladesh's favour.
Earlier, the Bangladesh spinners restricted England to 225 in 49.4 overs.
England were 162 for three in the 39th over but the Bangladesh spinners triggered a mini collapse as the last seven batsman could only add 63 runs to the total.
Jonathan Trott (67) and comeback man Eoin Morgan (63) forged a 109-run stand for the fourth wicket which was the only bright spot in the English batting display.
Bangladesh, with a host of spinners in the playing eleven, proved once again that they are a force to reckon with on the slow subcontinental wickets.
Captain Shakib Al Hasan (2-49), Abdur Razzak (2/32) and Naeem Islam (2/29) took wickets at crucial junctures to put the home team back into the match.
Asked to bat, England were off to a bad start with Andrew Strauss (18) and makeshift opener Matt Prior (15) back in the pavilion after crawling to 39 in the first 10 overs. Ian Bell (5) soon perished and it was left to Trott and Morgan to resurrect the innings.
Trott played cautiously, hitting only two fours in his 99-ball effort. This was his third consecutive fifty in the tournament.
Morgan, however, was the aggressor in the partnership and justified his selection after Kevin Pietersen had to fly back home to undergo hernia surgery. The southpaw hit eight boundaries in his 72-ball knock.