Report - Bangladesh and Sri Lanka kick off their World Cup campaign in style
Written By: Ritwika Dhar
Picture Courtesy: ICC
M#1 – AUS v BAN | All-round Bangladesh stunned the Aussies
For the first time in cricketing history, Bangladesh defeated Australia in an ICC tournament at any level, men or women. The ICC U-19 Women’s T20WC couldn’t have gotten a better curtain raiser for the inaugural edition than this.
After winning the toss, Australia captain Rhys McKenna opted to bat first. The pitch at Willowmoore Park in Benoni was a good batting wicket with a quick outfield. For the senior Bangladesh team, pace might not be their forte, but the under-19 team have two brilliant opening fast-bowlers in Marufa Akter and Disha Biswas. And skipper Biswas gave Bangladesh the breakthrough with the wicket of Katie Pelle on her 2nd delivery itself. In her 2nd over, she also bowled out wicketkeeper-batter Paris Bowdler as Australia were reduced to 38/2 at the end of the powerplay. After losing two wickets in the powerplay, Australia had to rebuild the innings. Bangladesh bowlers dried the run flow from the 7th to 13th over. But seasoned WBBL campaigner all-rounder Ella Hayward and Claire Moore were focusing on running between the wickets and laid a foundation in that duration. Moore started her innings cautiously, scoring 33 off 38, but in the 14th over, she broke the shackles with back-to-back boundaries and reached her 50 at the end of the 15th over. Moore’s 52 off 51 was the first-ever half-century of the U-19 T20WC.
When Australia seemed to be cruising to a big score, leg-spinner Rabeya Khan pulled things back by dismissing both the set batters, Moore and Hayward (35 off 39), and ended their 76-run stand. But Australia skipper McKenna made sure Australia finished their innings on a high. She tonked 3 boundaries in the last over and took the Australian total to 130 for 5. Pacers Marufa Akter and Disha Biswas picked up two wickets each and overall, it was a perfect exhibition of disciplined bowling. Bangladesh only conceded one extra in their entire 20 overs, which also came in the last over.
It was a competitive total, but Bangladesh showed with their quality batting that it wasn’t enough. Bangladesh had a nightmarish start as opener Misty Shaha got out for a duck on the 1st delivery of the innings. But Bangladesh bounced back with the powerful stroke-making of Afia Prottasha, Dilara Akter and Shorna Akter. Prottasha’s 24 off 22 at the top featured 2 fours and 2 sixes that she muscled over the mid-wicket region. She and Dilara (40 off 42) weaved a 66-run partnership in 10 overs. In the 11th over, Chloe Ainsworth changed the course of the match by sending both the set batters to the hutch. Unlike their senior counterparts, Bangladesh's batting didn't crumble from there. Batters Shorna Akter (23 off 18) and Sumaiya Akter (31 off 25) stitched an unbeaten partnership of 61 runs to see Bangladesh home.
With 16 runs required off 18 balls, Shorna Akter put the final nail in the coffin in the 18th over itself. She smacked a fuller delivery outside off delivery from McKenna over mid-wicket for a humongous six. And a couple of deliveries later, she scored the winning runs by guiding a full one on her pads to fine leg for four.
Dilara Akter’s 41 off 42 held the Bangladesh innings together and powered them to this historic victory. Her effort saw her adjudged the Player of the Match.
Australia – 130/5 (20) C. Moore 52 (51), E. Hayward 35 (39); M. Akter 2/29 (4), D. Biswas 2/25 (3)
Bangladesh – 132/3 (18) D. Akter 40 (42), S. Akter 31* (25); C. Ainsworth 2/9 (2), R. McKenna 1/31 (3)
M#2 - USA v SL | Sri Lanka started their WC campaign with a 7-wicket victory
If one Asian giant showed their potential to the world, another giant showcased they are a force to reckon with. The USA captain Geetika Kodali won the toss and chose to bat first. Openers Laasya Mullapudi and Disha Dhingra gave a slow but steady start of 28 in the first five overs before Laasya was dismissed LBW on 3 (8). And from there, Sri Lanka continued to pick up wickets at regular intervals. Half of the USA batters were back in the pavilion in 12 overs. From 55-5, Ritu Singh (22 off 23) and captain Kodali (11 off 13) put up some resistance and helped USA reach 96/9 in 20 overs. Dewmi Vihanga who gave SL the first breakthrough, ended with the figures of 3 for 11 in 4 overs, including a maiden.
In response, Sri Lanka also struggled to reach the target of 100 at first. Pacer Snigdha Paul drew the first blood by dismissing Nethmi Senarathne in the 3rd over.
But the stark difference between Sri Lanka and USA was in the discipline of their bowling and their sharp fielding. Sri Lanka never let the USA batters settle down. On the other hand, USA couldn't take a single wicket after the 11th over. Captain Gunaratne (34 off 40) and Manudi Nanayakkara (32 off 31) shared the winning partnership of 54 between them. On the last ball of the penultimate over, Manudi smashed a huge six down the ground and sealed a 7-wicket opening victory over USA. Off-spinner Bhumika Bhadriraju was the pick of the bowlers with her 2 for 17. Vishmi Gunaratne was awarded the Player of the Match for her unbeaten knock of 34 from 40 deliveries.
USA – 96/9 (20) R. Singh 22 (23), D. Dhingra 18 (26); D. Vihanga 3/11 (4), V. Perera 2/15 (4)
Sri Lanka – 100/3 (19) V. Gunaratne 34* (40), M. Nanayakkara 32* (31); B. Bhadriraju 2/17 (4), S. Paul 1/2 (3)