NASSER HUSSAIN: Shorter and sharper deliveries are a clever ploy for England

England thrashed Bangladesh and their bowling strategy proved to be very effective

England’s bowling unit has been magnificent so far in this World Cup. 

OK, Bangladesh are perhaps not the side they used to be but there was no let-up by England on Wednesday. 

The decision to give Moeen Ali the new ball in the first two games has been a huge success and he has been backed up superbly by Chris Woakes and Tymal Mills.

England thrashed Bangladesh and their bowling strategy proved to be very effective

Tymal Mills performed at an incredibly high level to lead England to a win over Bangladesh

Tymal Mills performed at an incredibly high level to lead England to a win over Bangladesh

With Adil Rashid employed mainly in the middle overs, Eoin Morgan using Liam Livingstone well as a third spinner – off-spin to left-handers and leg-breaks to right-handers – and the fielding excellent, the captain has every base covered.

And two near-perfect bowling performances with what is pretty much a completely new-look Twenty20 attack have been achieved without Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes, Sam Curran and, for the moment, Mark Wood.

There has been a definite change in England’s plans over the last few years, and the seamers are generally bowling two metres shorter here than in the last T20 World Cup in India.

Mills spoke after England’s win against the West Indies about that need to pitch the ball a little bit shorter on these pitches, and what he and the others are doing is bowling what you’d call a heavy length.

Moeen Ali (centre) starting with the new ball was smart and England are getting a lot right

Moeen Ali (centre) starting with the new ball was smart and England are getting a lot right

It’s not bouncers – it’s just short of a length to hit the splice of the bat, ball after ball, and that’s how Woakes got Shakib Al Hasan out on Wednesday.

England might have to adjust those plans when they play their group games against Sri Lanka and South Africa on the smaller ground in Sharjah. But here and in Dubai, with big square boundaries and on pitches that can be a little bit two-paced, it’s a good ploy.

It will not be easy to leave anyone out for Wood, if he is fit to take on Australia on Saturday, but it will probably come down to Chris Woakes or Chris Jordan.

Jordan is central to England’s T20 think-tank so it could well be Woakes, but that would be harsh because he has three dimensions to his game and can bowl that heavy ball, as of course can Wood. Whatever way England go, it will be a difficult decision.

The only other area of relative concern is that England have played so well, the batsmen in their middle order who have been short of runs in recent times — Morgan and Livingstone — are not getting opportunities to get into nick.

The deliveries look to be a length shorter and are sharper, which is effective on these pitches

The deliveries look to be a length shorter and are sharper, which is effective on these pitches

They could suddenly find themselves in a knockout game in a pressure situation and immediately need to hit their straps. But they could get those chances before then in the three remaining group games.

With Jason Roy looking in great touch and England knocking off another below-par target in style, they are looking every inch the best T20 side in the world and now they just have to keep that going.

This was a good pitch to play Bangladesh on because it wasn’t that slow and the ball wasn’t spinning much.

They are missing Tamim Iqbal as he can get them off to flying starts but there was little of the aggression, passion and heart we usually see from them.

Instead, Bangladesh were meek and their supporters would have expected to see more by now from experienced players like Shakib, Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim. But England made sure they were always on the back foot.

England and Pakistan have both made great starts and I think India will come again after losing that first game so emphatically against Pakistan.

Eoin Morgan's (right) side need to reach the knockout stages and be at their optimum level

Eoin Morgan’s (right) side need to reach the knockout stages and be at their optimum level

They are the sides who look the strongest to me at the moment and, with South Africa weakened by the possible absence of Quinton de Kock, Australia have a great chance to join them in the last four.

The Aussies will certainly provide England with their toughest test so far in Dubai on Saturday, but Morgan and his team are perfectly placed now to progress to the final stages of this tournament.

You can be sure they won’t take their foot off the gas – they will keep adjusting to conditions and they will keep improving.

The next week will be about confirming their qualification for the semi-finals and then preparing themselves for knockout cricket because the way it’s going, they could easily face a last-four clash against India. That’s when they really will have to be ready.

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