Meg Lanning’s unbeaten 48 guided Australia to an eight-wicket win over Bangladesh as the reigning ICC Women’s T20 World Cup champions recorded their second successive victory.
Lanning led a successful pursuit of Bangladesh’s 107, of which captain Nigar Sultana Joty contributed 57, with Georgia Wareham (3/20) among the Australian bowlers to shine.
Darcie Brown chipped in with for two for 23 before Alyssa Healy and Lanning’s partnership of 72 laid the foundations in the chase.
Bangladesh opted to bat upon winning the toss but they lost Shamima Sultana early, Beth Mooney taking a brilliant catch at extra cover from the bowling of Brown. The fast bowler’s second wicket soon followed as she uprooted Murshida Khatun’s leg stump with just 11 runs on the board.
Up stepped Bangladesh’s leading run scorer and captain Joty, who struck back-to-back fours to inject some momentum into the innings. By the end of the powerplay, she had 21 off 13 after hitting Alana King for four and a six in quick succession.
The skipper lost the company of Sobhana Mostary, who offered an easy catch to King and a first wicket for Wareham, who was making her first appearance of the competition.
Brown thought she had taken her third scalp of the evening just after the midway stage when Shorna Akter was given out caught behind, but the young batter survived on review.
The 16-year-old also escaped an lbw appeal in the next over and subsequently gave Joty a platform to become the first Bangladeshi to score an ICC Women’s T20 World Cup half-century, her’s from 41 balls, including seven boundaries.
Wareham struck twice in the 17th over, bowling Shorna for 12 shortly after the teenager’s first boundary, before repeating the trick to dismiss Rumana Ahmed and leave the score 90 for five.
Joty then departed, Lanning taking a routine catch from the bowling of Ashleigh Gardner, before Megan Schutt dismissed Nahida Akter at the death.
Marufa Akter, who shone in Bangladesh’s opener against Sri Lanka, picked up where she left off in the reply by taking the key early wicket of Mooney for two, but Alyssa Healy and Lanning soon started motoring. They hit five boundaries, including a fine six from the former, in the space of 11 balls to carry Australia to 45 for one by the end of the powerplay.
Lanning was then put down by Marufa, the 18-year-old unable to prevent the ball from squirming under her ambitious dive and away for four.
The second-wicket partnership soon passed 50 but was ended when Healy picked out Joty to provide Shorna with a breakthrough.
Gardner joined Lanning at the crease and hit the boundary from the second ball of the 18th over to take Australia top of Group 1.
Australia stay in Gqeberha to face table-toppers Sri Lanka on Thursday, while Bangladesh take on New Zealand at Newlands the following day.
Scores in brief
Australia beat Bangladesh at St George’s Park, Gqeberha by eight wickets
Bangladesh 107 all out, 20 overs (Nigar Sultana Joty 57, Shorna Akter 12; Georgia Wareham 3/20, Darcie Brown 2/23)
Australia 111/2 in 18.2 overs (Meg Lanning 48, Alyssa Healy 37; Shorna Akter 1/12, Marufa Akter 1/19)
Player of the Match: Georgia Wareham (Australia)