Nigar Sultana promised there is plenty more to come from Bangladesh after they notched a historic first-ever ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup victory against Pakistan.
Fargana Hoque made 71 with the bat and Fahima Khatun took three for 38 with the ball as the Tigresses held on to win by nine runs in a tense match in Hamilton.
Sidra Amin threatened to spoil Bangladesh’s day as she made a sublime 104 but Pakistan struggled to get on top of the required run-rate and lost seven wickets in the last 10 overs.
After earlier defeats to South Africa and New Zealand, Bangladesh are off the mark and Nigar believes they can offer much more.
“I cannot describe this in words. This is our first-ever win in World Cups and we have made history today,” she said.
“We are looking forward to carrying this momentum throughout the tournament. I have seen two matches over here, where the spinners dominate, I thought if she [Fahima Khatun] could deliver her best, I could use her very well.
“We know Pakistan very well, we played each other so many times. In the qualifier also we beat them in the last over.
“Winning gives us the confidence and this is the momentum we always wanted, we have a good side and already improving, we know that we are a very capable team.”
Bangladesh made 234 for seven from their 50 overs, with Fargana’s 71 the glue that held it all together.
Nigar contributed 46 and Sharmin Akhter weighed in with 44, while Nashra Sundhu was the pick of Pakistan’s bowlers with three for 41.
Sidra’s sensational century – her first in ODI cricket – came off 140 balls and featured eight fours but no-one could form a partnership with her in the final 10 overs.
Fahima was a big reason why, the Bangladesh spinner’s three for 38 swinging the match decisively in her team’s favour and earning her the Player of the Match award.
“We bowled in the right areas and to the fields we set,” she said.
“We knew we needed dot balls and that was the target. We had the hunger to win but just played our normal game.
“When we batted, our girls wanted to score 250-plus but fell just short. Our bowling line-up was strong and we stuck to our plan. We didn’t lose focus in the middle overs and held our own.”
While Bangladesh celebrate a long-awaited win, Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof was left to rue a wasted opportunity.
Pakistan reached the 40th over requiring 67 runs and with eight wickets in hand, while Sidra was well set and on course for a century.
Yet their run-rate was too slow and the loss of regular wickets in the key phase of the game saw them come up short, just as they did against South Africa on Friday.
“It is very hard to digest, we were in the game but bad shots from the middle order cost us the game,” Bismah said.
“Sidra was playing well, she will be disappointed she could not finish the game [after being run out]. The way we batted we were in the game, we should have chased it down.
“That’s now two close games we did not win. We have to take some positives, move forward and try to come back harder in the next game.”
Content courtesy: ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC 2020 via Online Media Zone.