A superb effort from the bowlers and an accomplished chase by the batters, in particular opener Sharmin Akhter, led the Bangladesh women's cricket team to a seven-wicket victory over Ireland in their first Super Six match of the ICC Women's World Cup Qualifier at the Colombo Cricket Club Ground today.
Chasing 145 to win, Bangladesh rode on a half-century from Sharmin and contributions from the middle order to reach the target with 10.5 overs to spare.
Sharmin hit an 86-ball 52 with five boundaries and was part of two crucial partnerships. Her opening partnership with Sharmin Sultana (22 off 50 balls) realised 40 runs in 15 overs. Sultana's wicket was then followed quickly by number three batter Sanjida Islam's departure to a run out with the score on 53, but Sharmin then built a vital 53-run partnership with Fargana Hoque before the half-centurion fell to leg-spinner Ciara Metcalfe. That was the last of Ireland's joy as skipper Rumana Ahmed scored a brisk 24 and took the team home in the company of Fargana, who finished on a 57-ball 34.
Earlier, Bangladesh kept Ireland down to 144 in 47.1 overs after Bangladesh captain Rumana Ahmed won the toss and invited Ireland to bat first. Her opening bowlers Jahanara Alam and Khadija Tul Kubra struck early and their opponents were reeling at 15 for two inside nine overs. Ireland recovered to some extent with their third wicket partnership of 45 runs in 8.2 overs, but Bangladesh bowlers managed to make regular inroads and finally stopped the Irish innings at 144.
Clare Shillington and Ireland skipper Laura Delany both scored 37. Clare was more aggressive in her knock from 36 balls that contained four fours and two sixes.
For Bangladesh, Jahanara was the highest wicket-taker with 3-21 in nine overs. She was ably supported by Panna Ghosh, Rumana and Khadija as they all took two wickets each in their spells.
SCORES IN BRIEF
Ireland Women: 144 all out in 47.1 overs (Clare 37, Laura, 37, Jahanara 3-21)
Bangladesh: 145 for 3 in 39.5 overs (Sharmin 52, Fargana 34 not out, Rumana 24 not out; Lewis 1-31)
Result: Bangladesh won by 7 wickets