As England enter their fifth match of the 2015 Cricket World Cup, taking on Bangladesh in Adelaide, Australia, March 9, they would seem to be facing a do-or-die situation — entering the final two matches of their Pool A Group Stage competition with just two points from one victory to their credit. But amazingly, England Captain Eoin Morgan says he expected it to turn out that way.
According to The Guardian newspaper, Morgan admitted that as The Three Lions prepared for the ICC Cricket World Cup, they knew they might lose to Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka, leaving them only their matches against Bangladesh and upstart Afghanistan to salvage their bid to enter the Cup knockout stage.
That is exactly the situation England now faces as they prepare for the crucial showdown with Bangladesh, with the first ball scheduled to be bowled at 3:30 p.m. GMT, or 11:30 p.m. on March 8 United States Eastern Time.
In fact, even if England defeats both Bangladesh — as they are favored to do — and the Afghanis, they still risk an early exit from the Cup, if Bangladesh manages to shock favorites New Zealand in their final group stage match. Given that New Zealand has already booked its quarterfinal berth and may field an 11 consisting largely of bench players, the prospect of Bangladesh pulling out a victory might not be quite as improbable as it appears at first glance.
At the same time, England is coming off more than a week of idleness following a humiliating drubbing by Sri Lanka in which England posted a first innings total of 309 — yet somehow managed to lose by nine wickets.
Even considering all of those factors that would seem to weigh heavily on England's shoulders, Morgan insists that his team feels no pressure heading into the Bangladesh clash.
"The guys are quite relaxed," Morgan said, in an interview with the AFP news service. "The week's break has given us time to reflect and analyze what happened during the Sri Lanka game. There were a few positives in that game too."
The England captain insists that putting too much pressure on the side to win the match against Bangladesh could work against the team's hopes.
"If we play well, I have every confidence we can win this game," he said. "The illusion of making it a bigger game than it is, is probably the wrong thing to do."
So confident is Morgan, that he even implied that there would be no changes to his selections for the Bangladesh match, even though the current England 11 has taken beatings in three of its four matches in the 2015 Cricket World Cup so far.
[Image: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images]