Sunday, May 22, 2022

Australia battle past Bangladesh in Women's Cricket World Cup

Australia battle past Bangladesh in Women's Cricket World Cup
March 25, 2022 Web Desk

WELLINGTON (AFP) - Favourites Australia beat Bangladesh by five wickets in howling winds in Wellington to maintain their perfect record at the Women's Cricket World Cup on Friday.

It ends Bangladesh's slim hopes of securing a semi-final berth, although the Tigers pushed the six-time champions hard in a match where innings were reduced to 43 overs because of the weather.

Bangladesh made 135-6 after being put in to bat, with Lata Mondal top-scoring on 33 in a match that was essentially a dead-rubber for Australia, who are guaranteed a playoff spot. The wind was so strong at Wellington's Basin Reserve that the bails would not stay on the stumps and the umpires made the rare decision to play on without them.

Players from both teams waited to bat huddled on the sidelines wrapped in blankets, rubbing their hands to ward off the cold. "It's certainly the hardest conditions I've played in," Australia captain Meg Lanning said.

"I was freezing cold... today was about finding a way to get through it and win. We certainly had to fight, Bangladesh put us under pressure and played extremely well."

Bangladesh's batters made a slow start in the atrocious conditions, reaching 58-2 after 18 overs. Sharmin Akhter's departure on 24 made runs even harder to come by, with Bangladesh scoring only eight from the next eight overs as Australia's spinners piled on the pressure.

Mondal showed aggression late in the innings but fell in the final over as Bangladesh finished on 135-6. Beth Mooney anchored Australia's reply with an unbeaten 66, backed up by Annabel Sutherland's 26 not out, while Salma Khatun took 3-23 for Bangladesh.

Australia remain the only undefeated team at this year's tournament and are overwhelming favourites for a seventh title.

Bangladesh's chances of advancing were always remote and required a string of unlikely results, but they will take heart from a win over Pakistan and close losses to the West Indies and South Africa in their debut World Cup campaign. They could still throw a spanner in the works by defeating England on Sunday to eliminate the defending champions.