ICC Women’s World T20 Qualifier hosts the Netherlands were skittled for 42 before Bangladesh knocked off the runs easily to all-but-confirm their place in the semi-finals.
The hosts against the favourites. A team hurting from a heart-breaking opening-day defeat against one brimming with confidence. A place in the World T20 the eventual prize. This game had all the ingredients of an absolute classic.
And for a few overs, it seemed we might just get it, as sizeable groups of support for both teams created an electric atmosphere. Sterre Kalis, who made a brilliant unbeaten 88* in the last-over defeat against UAE, started as she’d left off, driving straight and true and notching up three early boundaries. Bangladesh were bowling well and fielding even better, diving after every ball and leaving nothing left unchased.
Then, as Kalis came down the track, aimed a leg-side swipe at lanky seamer Panna Ghosh and was bowled, the game changed. No other Netherlands player found the fence, only Denise Hannema made it into double figures, and six were dismissed for ducks as the hosts wilted under the pressure.
Leg-spin did the majority of the damage, the Dutch side looking clueless as Rumana Ahmed and Fahima Khatun took a combined 6/5 from six overs, while Panna Ghosh supplied another eye-catching moment with a brilliant caught and bowled as Netherlands slipped to 42 all out.
In reply, with qualification not guaranteed even with victory and net run rate a possible factor, Bangladesh raced away, Shamima Sultana striking three boundaries in a 12-ball 14. The Dutch crowd were at least able to cheer three wickets – two for Cher van Slobbe who conceded just four runs from her two overs – but Fargana Hoque Pinky ensured there would be no nerves with an unbeaten 11, which led Bangladesh to seven-wicket victory with 12.1 overs remaining.
Bangladesh are runaway leaders of Group A and are the only team with a perfect record in the group. But they haven’t quite qualified thanks to PNG’s last-gasp victory over UAE. Should they lose their final game to UAE, and PNG beat the Netherlands, all three sides will have two wins, and it will come down to net run rate.
Similarly, the Netherlands aren’t quite out of contention. Should they defeat PNG, and UAE lose to Bangladesh, net run rate will again be needed to separate the teams.