Joshua Boyden rattled the defending champions by taking 4 for 16, before England chased down the low total inside 26 overs
England 98 for 3 (Bethell 44, Rew 26*) beat Bangladesh 97(Mondol 33*, Boyden 4-16, Aspinwall 2-18) by seven wickets
Boyden, who plays for Lancashire 2nd XI, took the new ball and in the third over of his spell struck with a ball angling across opener Mahfijul Islam as he tried to drive away from his body. Next over, the other Bangladesh opener, Ariful Islam, was sent back in similar fashion, once again pocketed by wicketkeeper Alex Horton.
Bangladesh promoted Ashiqur Zaman up the order to up the scoring, but his inexperience with the bat showed when he was out for 9 trying to pull a Thomas Aspinwall ball that got big on him.
With England well and truly on top, Bangladesh’s No. 4 Aich Mollah (13) tried to start a rebuilding process alongside Abdullah Al Mamun. But Mollah fell to Fateh Singh’s left-arm spin when his cut behind point went straight to gully.
Boyden, returning for a new spell, then brought the wicketkeeper back into play, in the 23rd over, by getting a length ball to nip across left-hander Mamun’s bat, taking a faint edge to Horton. Next over, SM Meherob top-edged a short ball from Aspinwall to Horton for his fifth catch and the score was 51 for 8.
Bangladesh captain and bowling allrounder Rakibul Hasan was soon dismissed off the first ball he faed when a full delivery from Boydon angled across him, and the his aggressive-looking drive was edged to Horton.
England’s openers were in no hurry to chase the target of 98 down, looking to settle in before opening their arms. In search of wickets, Rakibul rotated his bowling options to find that opening breakthrough, and it came in the ninth over from second-change bowler Mondol when opener George Thomas mistimed a pull to midwicket.
Prest, the England captain, then walked in at No. 3 with the score 20 for 1, but he didn’t last long. After taking 15 balls to score four runs, he got tempted to cut one square with a half-tracker from Rakibul, but ended up getting a thick edge to wicketkeeper Mollah. With England at 26 for 2, and Bangladesh lifted following two quick wickets, there was still a chance for the defending champions to make a game of the contest despite the low target.
With England on 91 for 3 and needing only seven more to win, Luxton walked in at No. 5 and played a slog sweep over deep midwicket off his very first ball. Rew then knocked off a single, for his 26th run, to seal England’s win with 149 balls to spare.
“That’s probably the perfect start,” Prest said after the game. “For our bowlers to get them out for under 100 was very good. In the end, a good toss to lose.
“Boydon was really good doing that for us, good at swinging the ball, especially to left-handers. We fielded very well, we were fizzing around. Fielding has been a big focus of ours.”
“I think as a batting unit we didn’t do well,” Rakibul said. “We want to come back stronger next game with the batting. We had some good batters at the end and they showed great character. If our main batsmen score some runs, then we can surely come back stronger in the next match. Look, for us, two games remain. We need to win two games to cross the line and we need to play our best cricket.”
Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx