Sanjida Islam and Fahima Khatun starred with bat and ball, respectively, as Bangladesh beat Ireland by four wickets at Forfashire Cricket Club in Dundee on Thursday (September 5). The defending champions, thus booked their for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia early next year.
Islam held her nerve in a tricky chase as the rest of the line up crumbled around her. She headlined Bangladesh’s win with a wonderfully constructed 37-ball 32 that got her team over the line in 18.5 overs.
In their defence of 86, Ireland needed quicks wickets to put some pressure on Bangladesh. The opening duo of Ayasha Rahman and Murshida Khatun attempted to rotate the strike and keep chipping away at the target, but in their attempt, only seemed to be accumulating dot balls.
Murshida Khatun attempted to hit her way out of the hole. While she managed to evade the fielder for a short while, on her way to a 15-ball 13, the left-hander was eventually well caught by Eimear Richardson on the circle at mid-off. Rahman soon followed her partner to the pavilion as Sophie MacMohan struck in the sixth over. Bangladesh finished the power play with 24 for 2.
Ireland continued to pile on the pressure, dismissing Nigar Sultana and Fargana Hoque in quick succession. Orla Prendergast, the right-arm pacer, picked up both wickets, to reduce Bangladesh to 30 for 4 in 8.1 overs. They were exposed, and Ireland seemed to suddenly believe.
As the bowlers picked up their pace, kept the ball in the right areas and forced Bangladesh to try something different, Sanjida Islam and Ritu Moni simply allowed them to. The pair realised that they had enough time on their hands, and simply soaked up the pressure. The pair added 38 runs in the following 8.4 overs, before Moni was run out by some smart work from Shauna Kavanagh on the deep cover boundary.
The equation now read 15 runs required off 18 balls and Islam struck two boundaries off Richardson to all but seal the match in favour of Bangladesh. She chose her moment perfectly, picking the areas and the right ball to deal Ireland the killer blow. However, there was another twist in the tail when Fahima Khatun was run out by Leah Paul without facing a ball.
With six needed off 12 balls, Jahanara Alam smashed a boundary off the first ball, before she passed on the strike to Islam, who quite fittingly, hit the winning runs to seal Bangladesh’s spot in the final.
Earlier in the day, on a breezy and cold morning in Dundee, Ireland opted to bat first. They had reshuffled their order, with Gaby Lewis and Mary Waldron opening the innings ahead of Orla Prendergast who had been pushed into the middle-order. The change however, did not alter Ireland’s fortunes, as Lewis departed early for five. To make matters worse, Waldron fell in he next over dragging a full delivery from Alam, on to her stumps.
Two early wickets brought Kim Garth and Laura Dealny into the picture for Ireland. The team’s hopes of putting up a good score rested on their shoulders. However, that hope was short lived as Salma Khatun got Garth to edge behind in the sixth over for two. Ireland finished the power play reeling at 15 for 3, a score that soon became 27 for 4 following the dismissal of Prendergast. Advantage Bangladesh.
Laura Delany was the only one who had managed to play herself in. Following the dismissal of Leah Paul, Eimear Richardson came out with positive intent looking to take the game on. She swept, swatted and scooped her way to a 17-ball 25 to help Ireland pass the 75-run mark. Her attacking knock – that included the only six of the match – took the pressure off Delany, who was scoring at a rate of less than 70.
As Ireland tried to get away, Bangladesh came back strongly into the match and removed the dangerous looking Richardson and Delany in consecutive deliveries. Fahima dismissed the pair and then ended the innings when she castled Lara Maritz in the final over. The leg-spinner finished with wonderful figures of 3 for 18.
Brief Scores: Ireland 85 in 20 overs (Laura Delany 25, Eimear Richardson 25; Fahima Khatun 3-18) lost to Bangladesh 86/6 in 18.3 overs (Sanjida Islam 32*; Orla Prendergast 2-11) by four wickets. PoM: Sanjida Islam.