England bowling has been magnificent so far at this World Cup.
Okay, Bangladesh might not be the team they used to be, but England didn’t back down on Wednesday.
The decision to give Moeen Ali the new ball in the first two games has been a huge success and has been superbly supported 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
With Adil Rashid mainly employed in the middle over, Eoin Morgan using Liam Livingstone well as a third spinner (off spin for lefties and leg breaks for righties) and excellent fielding, the captain has all bases covered.
And two near-perfect bowling performances have been achieved with what is practically a completely new Twenty20 attack without Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes, Sam Curran and, for the moment, Mark Wood.
There has been a definite change in England’s plans in recent years, with the closers typically bowling two meters less here than at the last T20 World Cup in India.
Mills spoke after England’s win over the West Indies about the need to throw the ball a little shorter on these pitches, and what he and the others are doing is bowling, what you would call a long long.
Moeen Ali (center) starting with the new ball was smart and England are doing a lot of good
They’re not gorillas, he’s a little short to hit the bat joint, ball after ball, and that’s how Woakes got Shakib Al Hasan out on Wednesday.
England may have to adjust those plans when they play their group matches against Sri Lanka and South Africa on the smaller ground in Sharjah. But here and in Dubai, with large square boundaries and in fields that can be a little two steps away, it is a good tactic.
It will not be easy to leave anyone out for Wood, if he is fit to face 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 he might as well be Woakes, but that would be tough because he has three dimensions to his game and he can throw that heavy ball, like, of course, Wood. Whichever path England takes, it will be a difficult decision.
The only other area of relative concern is that England have played so well that hitters in their middle order who have been short of runs of late, Morgan and Livingstone, are not getting a chance to get into the nick.
Deliveries appear to be a bit shorter and sharper, which is effective in these fields.
Suddenly, they could find themselves in a knockout game in a pressure situation and will immediately need to hit their straps. But they could have those opportunities before then in the remaining three group games.
With Jason Roy sporting a great touch and England taking down another sub-par target in style, they are searching every inch for the best T20 team in the world and now they just have to keep it up.
This was a good pitch to play against Bangladesh because it wasn’t that slow and the ball didn’t spin much.
They miss Tamim Iqbal as he can get them started hard, but there was little of the aggression, passion and heart that we usually see in them.
Instead, Bangladesh was tame and its fans would have expected to see more from seasoned players like Shakib, Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim. But England made sure they were always on the defensive.
England and Pakistan are off to great starts and I think India will come back after losing that first game so emphatically against Pakistan.
Eoin Morgan’s side (right) needs to reach the knockout stages and be at their optimum level
They are the teams that seem strongest to me at the moment and with South Africa weakened by the possible absence of Quinton de Kock, Australia has a great opportunity to join them in the quarterfinals.
The Australians will undoubtedly provide England with their toughest test yet in Dubai on Saturday, but Morgan and his team are now perfectly positioned to advance to the final stages of this tournament.
You can be sure they won’t take their foot off the gas – they’ll keep adapting to the conditions and keep improving.
Next week will be about confirming their qualification for the semi-finals and then preparing for cricket by knockout because as it’s going they could easily face a quarter-final clash against India. That’s when you really have to be ready.