Asian side proves too strong for Ireland on its way to a comfortable seven-wicket victory
Bangladesh Women took bragging rights in the latest round of its rivalry against Ireland Women with a seven-wicket win in its opening ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier Super Six match at the Colombo Cricket Ground on Wednesday (February 15).
Jahanara Alam gave the team an opening with the new ball, before the spinners turned the screws to have Ireland bowled out for 144 in 47 overs. A fifty from Sharmin Akhter laid the groundwork for the Asian side to chase down the target in 39.1 overs.
Lucy O’Reilly held on to a good catch in the midwicket region off Gaby Lewis and Isobel Joyce’s direct hit from point sent back Sanjida Islam. Isobel, who began the afternoon bowling left-arm seam, even switched to left-arm spin as the pitch started to assist the spinners. But all it needed from Bangladesh was for the team to stay calm.
Akhter (52) was in no hurry to get her runs. She showed no signs of self-doubt in her approach to either the spinners or the seamers, moving her feet well and bringing out the drives and pulls. She brought her fifty up in 85 balls with a well-struck four down the ground.
She was out right after, caught at backward point, but a confident Fargana Hoque (34 not out) at No. 4 kept the chase on track, a leg-side single taking them to 145 for 3.
Given the rain the previous evening and more forecast on the day, Bangladesh chose to bowl. Alam opened with a wide, but she and Panna Ghosh soon found their lengths and tied down the openers. The first boundary was 47 balls in coming.
The occasional delivery from Alam outside off tempted the batters, and sure enough, Cecilia Joyce nicked one to be caught behind. Kim Garth, coming off 98 in her previous match, wisely didn’t offer a shot to the first Alam delivery she faced, but a hasty nick off the next one was pouched by Nigar Sultana, the wicketkeeper; she didn’t wait for the umpire’s signal to walk for a duck.
Clare Shillington’s straight four was an indication perhaps that Alam was kept on for one over too many. Shillington showed no hesitation against the spinners, ignoring the close-in fielders and slips to pepper the leg-side with boundaries.
Rumana Ahmed, the legspinner, was taken for two glorious sixes in the 16th, one straight down the ground to bring up the team fifty, and the next over long-on.
Salma Khatun stopped Shillington’s knock at a 36-ball 37, bowling her with one that got good turn. And with two wickets falling in as many overs, Ireland found themselves at 62 for 4.
Isobel (24) and Laura Delany, the captain, rode their luck in adding 44 for the fifth wicket. Delany (37) attempted to stick around, but with little support from the tail and tight death bowling from Bangladesh, she only delayed the end of the innings.
Alam finished with 3 for 21, while Ghosh, Rumana and Khadija tul Kubra had two each.
Bangladesh, who now has two points, next play India on Friday, while Ireland takes on Pakistan.