A top-notch bowling spell from spinner Georgia Wareham combined with a brilliant knock from skipper Meg Lanning helped Australia continue their winning run in the ongoing ICC Women’s T20 World Cup with an eight-wicket win over Bangladesh at Gqeberha on Tuesday. Lanning led a successful pursuit of Bangladesh’s 107, of which captain Nigar Sultana contributed 57 in 50 balls, with Georgia Wareham (3/20) among the Australian bowlers to shine. Darcie Brown chipped in with two for 23 before Alyssa Healy and Lanning’s partnership of 69 runs laid the foundations for the chase.
Bangladesh opted to bat upon winning the toss but they lost Shamima Sultana (1) early, Beth Mooney taking a brilliant catch at extra cover from the bowling of Brown. The fast bowler’s second wicket soon followed as she uprooted Murshida Khatun’s (7) leg stump with just 11 runs on the board.
Up stepped Bangladesh’s leading run scorer and captain Nigar, who struck back-to-back fours to inject some momentum into the innings. By the end of the powerplay, she had 21 of 13 balls after hitting Alana King for four and a six in quick succession.
The skipper lost the company of Sobhana Mostary (7), who offered an easy catch to King and a first wicket for Wareham, who was making her first appearance in the competition. Bangladesh was 42/3 at this point.
Brown thought she had taken her third scalp of the evening just after the midway stage when Shorna Akter was given out caught behind, but the young batter survived on review.
The 16-year-old also escaped an lbw appeal in the next over and subsequently gave Nigar a platform to become the first Bangladeshi to score an ICC Women’s T20 World Cup half-century, which came in 41 balls, including seven boundaries.
Wareham struck twice in the 17th over, bowling Shorna for 12 shortly after the teenager’s first boundary, before repeating the trick to dismiss Rumana Ahmed (4) and leave the score 90 for five.
Nigar then departed, Lanning taking a routine catch from the bowling of Ashleigh Gardner, before Megan Schutt dismissed Nahida Akter (6) at the death.
Bangladesh ended their innings at 107/7 in 20 overs. Wareham and Brown took three and two wickets respectively, while Schutt and Gardner took one scalp each.
Marufa Akter, who shone in Bangladesh’s opener against Sri Lanka, picked up where she left off in the reply by taking the key early wicket of Mooney for two, but Alyssa Healy and Lanning soon started motoring. They hit five boundaries, including a fine six from the former, in the space of 11 balls to carry Australia to 45 for one by the end of the powerplay.
Lanning was then put down by Marufa, the 18-year-old unable to prevent the ball from squirming under her ambitious dive and away for four.
The second-wicket partnership soon passed 50 but was ended when Healy picked out Nigar to provide Shorna with a breakthrough. She was dismissed for 37 off 36 balls.
Gardner (19*) joined Lanning at the crease and hit the boundary from the second ball of the 18th over to take Australia top of Group 1.
Australia stays in Gqeberha to face table-toppers Sri Lanka on Thursday, while Bangladesh take on New Zealand at Newlands the following day.
Wareham was declared as the ‘Player of the Match’ for her match-winning spell.
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