A magnificent century by Shai Hope has powered West Indies to a thrilling four-wicket victory over England in the first of three one-day internationals…
Australia finished the pool stage in the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in style with a 5 wicket win over Bangladesh.
With this win, Australia will finish at the top of the leader board and go into the semi-finals stage undefeated.
It was a special day for many reasons.
First of all, it was Meg Lanning’s birthday, with the skipper turning 30 years old.
Given how long Lanning has been the Australian captain, the maturity in which she leads the team and how talented a cricketer she is, I always forget how young she is.
She has led her country 77 times and has scored more international centuries than any other woman in the game. And she’s not done yet.
Many happy returns to our talented leader; I hope there is an opportunity to celebrate this evening (perhaps a two-for-one given it was Alyssa Healy’s birthday earlier this week).
Today was also the first time that Bangladesh and Australia had faced off in an ODI.
As has been the custom through the Tournament, Australia made some changes leading into the game with every bowling attack considered depending on the opponent and the conditions.
Fast bowler Darcie Brown was recalled into the squad and Ellyse Perry was omitted from the squad due to a back injury. The expectation is that Perry will be fit for the semi-finals which start next week.
After winning the toss, Lanning elected to bowl first in the rain-impacted ODI. Due to heavy rain, the match was reduced to 43 overs per team with a nine-over Powerplay for each team.
Here are today’s talking points.
Bangladesh finished their innings at 6-135, with Australia requiring 136 runs to win.
It was a combined effort by Australia’s bowling attack with Ashleigh Gardner and Jess Jonassen finishing with two scalps each and Megan Schutt and Annabel Sutherland taking one wicket each.
Lata Moudal top scored for Bangladesh with 33 runs and Ahrmin Akhter was the only other player to reach 20 runs.
You may also have noticed during play that there were no bails on the stumps today. Your eyes weren’t playing tricks on you, there were no bails given the strength of the wind out in windy Wellington.
In the innings break, Jonassen even commented that she had never played in conditions quite like this before.
With Bangladesh setting a modest target of 136 runs, I wondered how easily Australia would get the total.
It’s fair to say that Australia made the run chase slightly harder than it needed to be.
Salma Khatun had immediate impact, dismissing openers Healy for 15 and Rachael Haynes for seven. But she wasn’t done there, getting Lanning out for a rare duck on her birthday.
This made her the first bowler in history to dismiss all three of those batters in the same ODI.
Beth Mooney once again stood up for Australia scoring 66 not out. Annabel Sutherland was the next highest run scorer on 26 not out, followed by Healy on 15.
Unsurprisingly, Mooney was named player of the match for her performance with the bat.
The short answer is, it’s complicated and the answer on opponent, location and timing won’t really be known until Sunday.
If India quality, World Cup playing conditions require them to play in the second day-night semi-final in Christchurch.
Apart from Australia, South Africa is the only team who will be comfortable at the moment.
For South Africa the equation remains simple; win one of their final two matches to qualify for the semi-finals. Two losses could see South Africa drop out of the top four altogether.
India will be very focused on results over coming days with much hinging on the result between the West Indies and South Africa.
Should the West Indies defeat South Africa, their finals hopes will also be dependent on the results in other games.
England will be hoping to finish their campaign with two wins. A big part of that will be the weather and given England’s luck in the semi-finals of the ICC T20 Women’s World Cup in 2020, I think they deserve a bit of luck from the weather gods.
Out of the above four teams, which team would you like to see Australia play in the semi-finals?