By Shashank Kishore in Sylhet
England captain hits 80 before bowlers restrict Bangladesh Women to 58 for 9 to complete comfortable 79-run win
Bangladesh Women had been hopeful of a good show heading into the clash against England Women, but the brilliance of Charlotte Edwards, the captain, ensured England posted its second win in three matches at the ICC Women's World Twenty20 at the Sylhet Divisional Stadium on Friday (March 28).
The Group B fixture, Bangladesh's second, was important on more than one count for England. Two points were up for grabs, but it was also an opportunity to find form for the top order that had been a little short of runs.
Edwards duly served notice with a stroke-filled 80 in England's 137 for 5 after she opted to bat. It was a total that was never really threatened as Bangladesh struggled to 58 for 9 off 20 overs, with several batters falling to ill-advised shots.
This was the same surface on which Meg Lanning had blasted her way to a record-breaking 65-ball 126 on Thursday, and England's decision to bat first came as no real surprise. But the start was far from convincing as Bangladesh had the measure of the batters early on.
Sarah Taylor appeared to be a touch apprehensive against a spin-heavy attack. Soon enough, the pressure began to tell as she chipped a catch to short midwicket on 7 in an attempt to clear the infield in the fifth over.
However, that had little effect on Edwards's concentration. Keen to make up for her blip against India, where she perished while looking to hit out, Edwards was a bank of composure and solidity. The first six overs produced just one boundary, but Edwards opened out against the relatively inexperienced attack after she got her eye in, as the crowd was treated to a fine exhibition of timing.
In between, Tammy Beaumont was out to a beauty by Khadiza Tul Khubra. The ball spun back in sharply and sneaked in through the gap between bat and pad to take the off stump. In her next over, Khubra had Lydia Greenway lbw as England was in a bit of trouble at 43 for 3 in the 10th over.
The innings had lacked direction, but the attacking instincts of Edwards automatically took over. It wasn't until the 14th over that she cut loose. She lofted Khubra for two boundaries and then brought up her half-century off the next over.
As the run-rate picked up, Natalie Sciver stepped up and stroked a 16-ball 20, before Heather Knight teed off at the end, making an unbeaten 18 off 9 balls. While Sciver and Knight used their muscle to wield the long handle, Edwards brought her cheeky side to the fore, playing a couple of delicate reverse paddles before falling in the last over.
The Bangladesh batters came out with aggressive intent, but couldn't connect, with the accuracy of Anya Shrubsole, the pacer, and Danielle Hazell, the left-arm spinner, keeping them in check. Wickets then tumbled, as none of the batters could get their eye in and Bangladesh was reduced to 18 for 5 in the 10th over.
Shamina Sultana swung across the line to get a top edge to backward point, Ayasha Rahman and Salma Khatun found the mid-on fielder, while Rumana Ahmed’s attempted swing over the infield went as far as the mid-off fielder. While Hazell ripped the top order apart, Sciver went through the tail, to finish with three wickets.
Fahima Khatun's unbeaten 16 allowed Bangladesh to play out the overs and cross the 50-run mark, but it still ended well short of a team that had plenty of quality and firepower.