England secure a Physical Disability World Series semi-final place
England survived a late scare to secure a Physical Disability World Series semi-final meeting with Afghanistan with a gripping six-run win over Bangladesh on Monday.
India’s comfortable eight-wicket defeat of Pakistan in the morning meant the hosts were certain of a semi-final spot if they defeated the Tigers and they held on to progress to tomorrow morning's knockout match at Blackfinch New Road.
Man-of-the-match Callum Flynn, who hit 45 and took two for 25, held the winning catch in the final over after Bangladesh’s tail had threatened to pull of an unlikely win.
“I’m just glad I was under it,” Flynn said. “Not because I didn’t think anyone else would catch it. I just love being in the game.”
When left-arm spinner Ben Sutton (three for 24), one of three debutants in the tournament, removed Islam the visitors had slipped to 99 for eight with 50 still needed off 27 balls.
But Bangladesh’s ninth-wicket pairing of Rahman and Hossain kept the game alive with a series of lusty blows to leave 27 required off the last two overs.
When Rahman was well held by Goodwin off Liam O’Brien with the last ball of the 19th over, that cost 15 runs, 12 were needed off the final over.
It was left to Jordan Williams to get the job done. With eight needed off three deliveries, Hossain hit high and straight down the ground. Underneath it Callum Flynn held on to secure a stirring win.
It had, in truth, looked far more comfortable earlier when opener Imran’s unseemly mow at Ben Tyler’s opening delivery of the innings castled his off-stump.
An impressive opening spell from seamer Tyler brought more joy as he repeated the trick, removing Monirujjaman without scoring to leave Bangladesh on the back foot at 17 for two after three overs.
After that, England’s consistently competitive fielding – including a truly remarkable one-handed boundary stop by Williams to prevent a certain six – applied the squeeze.
Earlier, teenager Angus Brown, just 17 last month, again impressed with the bat in an opening stand of 48 with Liam Thomas which gave England a solid platform.
Brown’s 38-ball 45 was England’s joint top-score with Callum Flynn’s 45, also off 38, keeping the impetus up.
For Sutton, who made his senior debut earlier in the tournament, it was a moment to savour.
“Representing your country is amazing,” he said. “So much more intense than any other cricket I have ever experienced – which makes winning much better.
“We have been talking about the intensity of our fielding in all the warm-up games – as Jordan’s dive showed.”
England now prepare for the match against Afghanistan with the opportunity to reach the final against India on Monday afternoon.
“We’ll go the same again,” Sutton added. “We’ll play our cricket and enjoy it.”