The Bangladesh women's cricket team clinched a narrow six-run win over Papua New Guinea in a rain-hit International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 World Cup Qualifier 2019 at Forfarshire Cricket Club in Scotland on Monday.
The two sides were scheduled to face each other in the tournament opener, but incessant rain played the spoilsport and pushed the match into the Reserve Day.
After early rain, Bangladesh’s rescheduled fixture against Papua New Guinea at Forthill was again affected by weather and reduced to 17-overs in the first innings.
Winning the toss and electing to field first, a maiden first over from PNG’s Ravina Oa (2/17) with two LBW shouts and two plays and misses to the keeper – the day after defeating hosts Scotland – put Bangladesh on the back foot straight away and caused their openers to err on the side of caution in the damp and overcast conditions.
PNG continued their probing lines to hand Natasha Ambo a wicket in the second over, Bangladesh’s Ayasha Rahman poking at a wide delivery to edge through to the keeper for 4 to much jubilation from the PNG team.
After her excellent first over, Ravina Oa was brought back into the attack to bowl the fifth and struck on the penultimate ball to remove Nigar Sultana (6), another edge finding the gloves of PNG keeper Brenda Tau with a great low catch diving forward on a ball that just started to dip.
With 2/22 on the board after five, Bangladesh’s Ritu Moni (3) joined Sanjida Islam (13) at the crease but the pair could only add 5 runs for the third wicket before the former fell to a poorly judged second run – Natasha Ambo with the throw from deep square to gift PNG their third.
Bangladesh’s hopes of a decent total were dashed with the loss of their fourth and five wicket in quick succession – Sanjida Islam trapped in front by Sibona Jimmy for 19 as she missed the sweep on a fuller delivery and Shaila Sharmin (5) run-out with another suicidal run to cause an eruption from Papua New Guinea and restrict Bangladesh to 46/5 after 11.
Two in two from Sibona Jimmy (Jahanara Alam bowled for 5 and Salma Khatun trapped lbw for a golden duck) left Bangladesh reeling at 83/8 and Jimmy with figures of 3/10 from her three.
Fahima Katun provided some impetus for Bangladesh, striking 32 not out from 18 and hitting her highest T20i score before the rain came and took the players off with Bangladesh 103/8 after 16.3 overs.
Chasing a revised 59 from eight overs, Papua New Guinea’s openers took 19 from the first three overs before Sibona Jimmy was stumped for 8 after 3.2, bringing Konio Oala (10) to the crease to join Naoani Vare (10).
The pair fell in the same over – Vare caught trying to hit back over the bowler’s head and Oala bowled after missing the ball with a huge heave – but not without Oala smashing a six and a four to provide PNG with hope of a win.
Two new batters at the crease in Ruma and Tau meant all momentum was in favour of Bangladesh as the two struggled to get the ball to the boundary, taking just four runs from the sixth over to leave PNG requiring 25 runs from the final 12 balls.
Six runs from the first two balls into the 7th gave Papua New Guinea a good start, and after three singles a wide off the last ball allowed Tau to crush a four over mid-wicket on the extra delivery to take 14 runs and leave PNG needing 11 from six balls for a momentous win.
Nahida Akter (3/10 and Player of the Match) tempted Tau (6) to come down the track on the second ball of the over but she couldn’t connect - Nigar Sultana whipping off the bails to send her back to the pavilion with ten still needed.
Ruma (12), on strike after a quick single from Frank (2*), slog swept out to the on-side needing nine from three but instead found a safe pair of hands in Fahima Khatun to spark celebrations from Bangladesh.
Two singles from the last two deliveries handed Bangladesh a 6-run win at Forthill to leave Group A still up in the air after two rounds of group games with Bangladesh, PNG and Scotland still able to qualify for the semi-final spots.
Brief Scores: Bangladesh 103/8, 16.3 overs (F Khatun 32, S Islam 19; S Jimmy 3/10); PNG 52/5, 8 overs (T Ruma 12; N Akter 3/10).