With a bat in his hand, Dawid Malan appears commanding. Every bowler he has encountered this year will agree with that judgment. His stance, which has echoes of Marcus Trescothick's, is similar to Marcus Trescothick's and he is six feet tall. He used very little footwork for an amazing shot that would have made Trescothick proud early on Tuesday morning in Dharamsala, which was sunny and plenty of possibilities on a flat track.
Mustafizur Rahman and Taskin Ahmed, two fast bowlers from Bangladesh, got off to a promising start, moving or straightening the ball gently and dismissing both of the openers in the first four overs. Malan decided that enough was enough and positioned his front foot just slightly out of the way before hitting a left-armer pitch that was slanted into him behind square leg for the first six runs of the innings. All the way from Monday's net sessions back, it was planned.
He was performing it in the nets against throwdowns less than a day prior to the daring hit. With his feet firmly planted, Malan fired shots on both sides of the goal for about 20 minutes. Drives against fuller throwdowns came naturally, but with short and length deliveries, he reached out to cut, draw, and flick without changing his feet, much like he did against Mustafizur in the game. Even though it appeared like an odd drill to perform the day before a game, it was obvious that it may be useful in a competitive setting.
Shakib Al Hasan had a very active first half of the game as Bangladesh was put off their game by the ground. This was the first of many times Malan made Shakib adjust his field of play in response to him. Depending on the region Malan skillfully targeted, fine leg and square leg fielders alternated between coming in and coming out. He had outperformed and scored more runs than his opening partner, Jonny Bairstow, who was taking part in his 100th ODI for England, after the first 10 overs.
Malan easily used his feet to blunt Mehidy Hasan, a spinner who had previously controlled him in the format. After Bairstow's dismissal, he took the initiative to be proactive, persevered through a lull between overs 20 and 30, and then led England's abrupt up-shift in gears—against Mehidy, incidentally. Malan's two fours and two sixes contributed to the over's 22 runs, despite Shakib's frustrated gesticulations and constant field adjustments.
Malan's gamble to bowl the pacers early on paid off against the skidding new ball. He scored 84 off 64 balls in a match against the trio of Shakib, Mehidy, and Mahedi Hasan, and paradoxically, his spin game has improved over the years as a result of his time spent competing in the Bangladesh Premier League.
Only Shubman Gill has more ODI centuries this year than Malan, who scored 140 off 107 balls. A hitter from England has never recorded five hits in a single year. Additionally, he has made six since the 2019 World Cup, a record that none of the English batters currently in the lineup can even come close to duplicating. Malan has also scored the most runs for England during this time (1176), and his average (65.33) is the best of any batter who has played more than three games during this time. The only batter with a greater average (70.40) among those with 500 runs since that time is Gill. He had to maintain this level of perseverance in order to prove himself deserving of a spot on one of the best white-ball teams ever.
Due to the exceptional batting standards in England, it took him a whole ODI series of the highest caliber to persuade the selectors to keep him in the tournament's final roster. Harry Brook was included in the final selection despite his recent poor form because England, who has a history of mass producing and highly valuing batting swashbucklers, couldn't do it. Until Malan flipped that narrative in the New Zealand series last month, Brook's entry was anticipated to come at the expense of Malan. Malan scored 54 runs in Cardiff in the first week of September, went home to give birth to his kid, came back immediately to score 95 runs at the London Oval, and then went on to conclude the series with 277 runs, earning his name on the Lord's honors board.
Just two days before being formally retained in the World Cup squad in place of one of England's earlier white-ball "freaks," Jason Roy, Malan had said after that knock, "You either have to be an absolute freak or you have to be so consistent you keep your name in the hat." The performance on Tuesday in just his second World Cup appearance was the ideal kind of vindication for those in charge of what is currently perhaps one of the most difficult selection processes in cricket.
The top-order for Bangladesh is a concern, according to head coach Chandika Hathurusingha, who encouraged patience with the new-look opening combination on Tuesday.
Since Tamim Iqbal was unable to play in the World Cup, Bangladesh has chosen Litton Kumar Das and Tanzid Hasan Tamim to lead the innings. However, the opening tandem has struggled thus far, accumulating just 19 runs against Afghanistan and 14 runs against England. In Dharamsala, where they were competing with six bowlers in the Starting XI, it harmed the squad even more.
"You won't win many games if you don't get off to a good start or if you lose more than three wickets early in the Powerplay. Thus, there is cause for alarm. We must do this because we want our top-order to perform well when we also play seven hitters. Therefore, that's a major issue," Hathurusingha said to reporters after the game on Tuesday in Dharamsala.
It is concerning that we haven't been scoring (as an opening pair), but Litton's resurgence in this game was an encouraging sign for us, and Tanzim was in fantastic form after scoring runs in both of the practice games. Thus, there were two mistakes. Any team could experience that throughout the World Cup. As a result, I'm hopeful that those two will square off as the majority of batters have now reached peak form. And hopefully we'll perform as a team in the upcoming games," he remarked, adding that they should be patient with Tanzid.
"You're right, Tanzid managed to escape twice.
However, he participated in the two exhibition games' runs. He recently started playing international cricket. Malan wouldn't be participating in this game if you judged someone after two innings. Thus, we must exercise patience,' he remarked.
Hathurusingha continued by expressing his disappointment with the bowling unit's performance against England, which fell short of expectations. The bowlers must comprehend how to carry out their strategies in the middle, he continued.
"The wicket had something, so I don't think we erred by bowling first. Additionally, the start time is 10:30, and yesterday there was some rain. Something was on the wicket, according to Hathurusingha.
We had poor lengths and lines, and we did not bowl well in any sections. We weren't too happy with how things got off to a start. Even in the first 10 overs, we could have bowled a little bit more onto the stumps. We returned safely. I thought it was particularly daring of Shoriful to bowl those variations when we were really under pressure. They eventually would have received 400, I believe. Although we didn't bowl well, there are some advantages, he noted.
In the last two games, the fast bowlers' performance during the powerplay was notably off-color. Typically, there is something for the quick bowlers early on in a day game. Even in this game, there was some early seam movement that was a touch clumsy and two-paced. They were a little bit fortunate, two openers were playing and missing, and there were mishits. They batted quite effectively after that. Therefore, the narrative would have been different if we got some early wickets, he remarked.
"Bowling at the stumps was the plan, not bowling outside of them. I believe that the execution failed us. this particular game. With the aid of the spinners, we returned later in the previous game. The result of this game was that good, strategic batting prevented our spinners from rescuing us, he remarked.