Photo credit: Peter Della Penna
Shebani Bhaskar was dismissed for 8 as USA Women's batting woes continued on a day when they were bowled out for 46 by Bangladesh on the way to an eight-wicket defeat to put USA on the brink of elimination from qualifying contention for the 2020 Women's T20 World Cup in Australia.
By Peter Della Penna in Arbroath, Scotland (Twitter @PeterDellaPenna)
Left-arm spinner Nahida Akter’s 3 for 12 to wipe out the USA tail earned her Player of the Match honors at Arbroath Cricket Club on Sunday afternoon as Bangladesh Women stormed to an eight-wicket win over USA Women on day two of the 2019 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier in Arbroath, Scotland. Akter produced a double-wicket maiden in the 18th before claiming another in the 20th as USA were bowled out for 46. Bangladesh then needed just 8.2 overs to chase down the target.
USA Women’s captain Sindhu Sriharsha made the bold decision to bat first after winning the toss against the defending tournament champions and Bangladesh showed exactly why they entered as favorites in Group A with a clinical display. Medium pacer Jahanara Alam got things going for Bangladesh in the third over, bowling Erica Rendler with a full length delivery for 5 before Nadia Gruny ended the over mistiming an attempted scoop over fine leg to produce a catch down the leg side for wicketkeeper Nigar Sultana to make it 10 for 2.
Sriharsha fell in the last over of the Powerplay, slogging offspinner Khadija Tul Kubra to deep midwicket for a simple catch by Sanjida Islam for 4 to make it 14 for 3. USA’s most potent batting threat fell cheaply for the second day in a row when Shebani Bhaskar was bowled for 8 to end the eighth over, playing across the line to Kubra to make it 24 for 4.
Onika Wallerson was then runout without facing a ball in the ninth over as USA’s lack of experience showed. Sugetha Chandhrasekar had edged a single to third man but after completing the run to the striker’s end, Wallerson casually left her crease for a non-existent second as she looked to Chandhrasekar to make a call. Chandhrasekar was not interested but Akter’s relay to Sultana over the stumps had Wallerson a yard short despite the fact that she was never more than five yards from the striker’s crease after turning.
However, Chandhrasekar was partially at fault for the runout of Lisa Ramjit two overs later. Chandhrasekar was on strike once again and chipped a lofted drive that bounced well short of mid-off and had briefly set off for a run before turning back once Fahima Khatun attacked the ball. But Ramjit had responded to the initial call for a run and the teenager’s attempts to get back to the non-striker’s end were in vain as Fahima connected with a direct hit from 12 yards to make it 28 for 6.
USA’s second 10-run partnership of the day ended when Chandhrasekar cut Ritu Moni straight to Fahima at point to end as USA’s top-scorer on the day with 15 off 37 balls to make it 38 for 7 after 15. Chandhrasekar also struck one of USA’s only three boundaries with a sweep behind square.
Akshatha Rao was the first victim of Akter in the 18th, bowled with a swipe across the line for 1 before Claudine Beckford played down the wrong line with an awkward poke forward and was struck low on the front pad for a straightforward lbw decision. Samantha Ramautar stretched out the innings until the 20th over, blocking out Jahanara, Kubra and Moni before finally charging Nahida in the 20th to drive a boundary over mid-on. Ramautar fell two balls later with a charge that went awry, stumped for 5 off 30 balls to end USA’s innings in 19.5 overs.
Besides Akter’s Player of the Match spell, Jahanara returned excellent figures of 2 for 7 in her four overs while Kubra had 2 for 10 and a maiden in her four. Moni was Bangladesh’s most economical bowler, ending with 1 for 3 in three overs.
Bangladesh looked like they would cruise through the chase without losing a wicket behind Sanjida and Ayasha Rahman. Teenage medium pacer Ramjit was hit hardest of any of USA’s bowlers in the fourth when Sanjida clubbed a four and then a six over long-on in an 11-run over. USA had a chance to break the stand in the sixth when Sanjida swept Ramautar’s offspin on 25 straight to Rendler positioned perfectly at backward square leg in the ring but Rendler shelled a straightforward chance at head height.
Bangladesh had reached 41 for 0 after 7 when Rahman tried to end the match with a six but couldn’t clear Gruny at long-on. It meant Rao become just the second bowler to take a wicket off her very first delivery in a Women’s T20I. With the batters crossing while the chance was in the air, Rao claimed Sanjida for 30 off the next delivery after Sanjida was late on an attempted sweep and was given lbw to put Rao on a hat-trick. Moni saw it off though as Rao conceded just two runs off the rest of the over. Sultana ended the match two balls into the ninth pulling a half-tracker from Farooq through midwicket for a boundary.
USA is still mathematically alive heading into the final day of group play on Tuesday. However, USA needs to beat Papua New Guinea by a fairly sizable margin and hope Bangladesh beats Scotland to create a three-way tie at 1-3 for second place in the group, in which case second place and a spot in the semi-finals would be decided on net run rate. A loss for USA would officially eliminate them from contention for the 2020 Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia and would put them in a loser’s bracket match against either Namibia or Netherlands on Thursday.