Pakistan, West Indies, Netherlands and South Africa all claimed victories on the opening day of the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Sana Mir’s Pakistan defeated hosts Bangladesh by 73 runs in a hard-fought game played in front of strong home support while elsewhere, centuries from West Indians Juliana Nero and ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year 2011 Stafanie Taylor showed Ireland the Americas side’s intentions for the event are serious and a superior bowling attack saw Isobel Joyce’s side defeated by 213 runs and at Khanshaheb Osman Ali Stadium, Sri Lanka had South Africa all out for 114 but fell short of reaching the target by just six runs after Sunette Loubser took an impressive 5-27 to secure victory for the Africans.
Meanwhile Netherlands defeated Zimbabwe by six wickets after putting on a superior batting display led by Kerry-Anne Tomlinson and Miranda Veringmeier at BKSP 2.
In front of a lively crowd and playing live on national television, Bangladesh lost the toss and were put into field first in Mirpur – a decision that Mir may have regretted after some tight bowling from Salma Khatun and her bowling attack. Khatun was instrumental in the dismissal of the opener, Mir, after the 25-year-old mistimed a hit off the bowling of Lata Mondol to give the captain a nifty catch.
The rest of the Pakistan top order performed well with the bat, with the standout performance coming from Bismah Maroof with her patient 79 off a 106 balls, the 20-year-old from Lahore was dismissed by in-form bowler Khadiza Tul Kubra who had Bismah caught by Khatun. The Bangladeshi captain had a strong game in the field, claiming two wickets and three catches to see Pakistan 197 all out in its allotted overs.
In reply, Bangladesh’s batting attack failed to have a response to the strong bowling from the Pakistanis, with the side managing to make just 99 runs, while Pakistan’s bowlers gave away some 15 extras to give the Bangladeshis a total of 114 all out in just 42.4 overs. Nida Rashid proved to be the star bowler of the side with four wickets for just 29 runs, however, Bismah also claimed 2-16 and was judged by the on-field umpires to be most deserving candidate for Player of the Match award.
Bangladesh’s coach Mamatha Maben admitted that the Group B game had been tough with some areas needing to be worked, especially the middle order batting performance.
“We let too many extras go today which helped Pakistan in creating their total and we missed out on some chances to have them on the back-foot, whether it be with missed catches or poor fielding on our part. We let the Pakistanis create a partnership in the middle with Bismah and also Qanita Jalil showed some good batting which meant our bowlers couldn’t finish what they had started.
“There is no excuse for our poor batting, especially from the middle order who perhaps came in earlier than they had expected but they did not bed in as they should have. We need an improvement from Salma (Khatun), Sukatara (Rahaman) and also (Fargana) Pinky tomorrow – they can all bat but they played poor shots today and should have known better. The tail were more cautious simply because they came in with a mountain to do and currently the side needs to regain its confidence after this innings and move on for tomorrow’s crucial game against Ireland.
“It’s important to beat a team like Ireland, because realistically we have a chance against them and Japan and we will give West Indies our best effort but we know they are the strongest team in this group so for now it’s about ensuring we beat Ireland tomorrow.”
Pakistan’s captain was pleased with her side’s performance today but admitted there was still room for improvement, she said: “It’s great to start with a win and it was very much a team effort out there today. We bowled well, however we definitely gave away too many extras and that needs to be improved before our next game and also we need to get our fielding tighter.
“Some of our batters, including myself, made some poor shot selections today which led to us getting out but with the likes of Bismah stepping up to the plate I was pleased and we now all need to learn from this and improve ahead of our next game.”
At BKSP 3, West Indies made its first major impact of the tournament, with the side featuring two centurions in its innings – one from ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year 2011 Stafanie Taylor and one coming from Juliana Nero. The duo’s opening partnership of 204 in the side’s ODI against Ireland is the sixth highest opening partnership in any women’s ODI – unfortunately it was broken when Nero departed in the 37th over after the 32-year-old right-hander fell short of her mark and was run out by Heather Whelan.
Taylor made 107 in her innings, reminding all those in the tournament as to why she is the ICC’s top female cricketer at the moment, and the side made an impressive 277-4 in its allotted overs. In response, Isobel Joyce’s team simply could not handle the West Indian pace attack in the form of Pearl Etienne, Shanel Daley and Stacey-Ann King. The trio claimed seven Irish wickets between them and reduced the team to a miserable 63 all out in just 30.1 overs, with the top scorer being Kim Garth with just 24 runs.
At the adjacent ground, BKSP 2, Netherlands took on Zimbabwe with the latter electing to bat first in its opening Group A encounter. Sharne Mayers’ side struggled to make runs against the European qualifiers, but were helped by some sloppy bowling on the part of the Dutch team. Helmien Rambaldo’s bowling attack gave away 26 extras, including 22 wides to help the Zimbabweans to their total.
Esther Lanser’s off-break bowling proved successful as did the medium pace of Kerry-Anne Tomlinson, the latter proving deft with the bat after she helped to seal victory for the Dutch, scoring 46 not out and claiming Player of the Match in the Netherlands’ opening game.
Zimbabwe’s bowling attack managed to claim four victims, including Miranda Veringmeier, whose 47 runs proved crucial for the Dutch side in chasing down the total, before she departed after being caught and bowled by the athletic medium-pacer Audrey Mazvishaya.