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Sultana 57 in vain as Australia secure comfortable win

Nigar Sultana cracked seven boundaries and a six

Nigar Sultana’s 50-ball 57 proved too little in the end as Australia cruised to a comfortable 8-wicket win at St George’s Park, on Tuesday. Georgia Wareham’s 3 for 20 played a pivotal role in limiting Bangladesh to 107 for 7 – the lowest score in a completed innings so far in the ongoing T20 World Cup.

Opting to bat, Bangladesh found themselves in a tricky situation early on with Darcie Brown’s pace proving too hot to handle. The young pacer dismissed the openers before Sultana steadied the innings. The Bangladesh skipper got going by cracking two boundaries off Brown and then taking the attack to Alana King.

A 44-run stand with Shorna Akter had Bangladesh well placed to put up a competitive total. However, Wareham cleaned up Shorna and Rumana Ahmed in quick succession to pull back Bangladesh’s momentum. The inability to pick quick singles and twos also hurt their cause, and so did a flurry of wickets towards the end which didn’t allow Bangladesh to post a strong total.

Nonetheless, they had the Australians troubled in the initial overs. Beth Mooney as well as Alyssa Healy were slow to get going, and the former was even caught at slips for 2 in the third over. Just when Bangladesh looked to be on the offensive, Healy transferred the pressure on the bowlers by regularly stepping out of the crease and hitting the spinners down the track and forcing them to err on their lengths in the powerplay. Even as Healy struggled to get to the pitch of the ball, the arm extension allowed her to pick a six off Nahida Akter and a boundary over the mid on fielder off Salma Khatun.

The error deliveries that followed were neatly crunched through the offside for boundaries. Healy even got a reprieve on 25, in the seventh over, when she put down at long off. On a pitch where scoring wasn’t easy, the Australians resorted to caution yet again, but were quick to pick up singles, which came despite some fine effort in the field by the Bangladeshis.

The spinners controlled the scoring rate through the middle overs and even had Healy caught at cover, but couldn’t fully transfer the pressure back on the Australians. Lanning and Ash Gardner curbed their natural game and helped the defending champions overhaul the target with 10 balls to spare, courtesy an unbeaten 33-run stand off 35 balls.

Brief Scores: Bangladesh 107/7 in 20 overs (Nigar Sultana 57; Georgia Wareham 3-20, Darcie Brown 2-23) lost to Australia 111/3 in 18.2 overs (Meg Lanning 48*, Alyssa Healy 37) by 8 wickets

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