Photo Credit: ICC
Despite coming through the group stages of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 unbeaten, Australia have faced each side at their best, claims Beth Mooney.
Mooney was needed to rebuild Australia’s chase of 136 after Bangladesh reduced them to 70 for five as Salma Khatun became the first bowler to dismiss top-order trio Alyssa Healy, Meg Lanning and Rachael Haynes in a single ODI.
In a game reduced to 43 overs due to rain and played in high winds, Mooney also battled low light to guide Australia home ending with an unbeaten 66 to win Player of the Match.
“I think we’ve seen in this competition that every team can win a game from anywhere,” she said. “We talk about it within our group that when teams come up against us, they find another level and we have to always try and match that.
“Obviously Bangladesh had us under a lot of pressure early in that batting innings with how well they bowled and the fields that they set as well.
“They’re really crafty bowlers, they know what they’re doing and know how to put us under the pump.
“I think we certainly do expect teams to play like that against us, there’s a reason every team’s here playing in this World Cup and that’s because they’re all proper cricket teams that can challenge anyone on their day.”
Salma single-handedly reduced the No.1 ranked side to 26 for three as she ended with figures of three for 23 from her nine overs, the best bowling performance for Bangladesh at a World Cup.
And Mooney was full of respect for the veteran off-spinner.
She said: “She was super impressive today. Obviously, she took three poles up front so whenever someone new came out, I said that she was the main threat that we had to nullify.
“She is a crafty spinner, has a lot of changes and can really settle on a length, which is probably what we let her do a bit today – settle on us a little bit more than we would normally, with that wind playing a factor as well.
“She’s extremely crafty and she bowled really well today so it’s no surprise to me that she has been a very successful player for Bangladesh.”
As well as Salma’s record performance, Bangladesh brought up two other milestones as they faced Australia for the first time in ODIs.
Fargana Hoque became the first Bangladeshi woman to pass 1000 runs in ODIs with eight today in her 47th game.
In Australia’s innings, Rumana Ahmed became the first Tigress to take 50 ODI wickets with the dismissal of Ashleigh Gardner, a feat captain Nigar Sultana was keen to celebrate.
“Obviously I am proud to have them in the team and they have played for Bangladesh for a long time and I guess we have a long way to go,” Nigar said.
“I’m always proud of Fargana Hoque and how she has batted through, it was brilliant and how she actually performs for the team every time.
“And Rumana Ahmed is a brilliant all-rounder that we have in our team and I think we have more opportunities to get all these kinds of milestones.
“So, I’m hoping there will be 1000 more runs for Fargana Hoque and 50 more wickets for Rumana Ahmed.”
Australia have concluded their group stage with a seventh win out of seven games and cannot be knocked off the top of the standings, but they must wait until Sunday’s results are in to know their semi-final opponent.
For Bangladesh, their push for the last four has officially come to an end but they have the chance to land a second victory in their maiden World Cup when they take on England in Wellington on Sunday.
Nigar called on her batters to improve after Lata Mondol, coming in at No.6, top-scored with 33 with only opener Sharmin Akter (24) joining her in scoring over 20 runs.
She added: “I think you can see how we actually fought in a lot of matches. It was close against West Indies and how we started the tournament against South Africa it was so close for us.
“Maybe we could play better here, but our batting unit collapsed and while the bowlers have done very well, if the batters can support them maybe we could have won two or three more matches here.
“But still we have one match to go, so I’m looking forward to bouncing back as a batting and bowling unit.”