Leg-spinner Georgia Wareham grabbed three wickets on her return after more than a year, while skipper Meg Lanning slammed an unbeaten 48 as defending champions Australia eased to an eight-wicket win over Bangladesh in the Women’s T20 World Cup here.
This was Australia’s second win in the tournament from as many matches as they climbed past Sri Lanka atop the Group 1 standings on net run rate.
Wareham, who last played an international match in October 2021, bagged 3/20 from her four overs and was well-supported by pacer Darcie Brown (2/23) as Bangladesh managed a paltry 107 for seven after opting to bat.
It was a struggle for Bangladesh from the onset with captain Nigar Sultana standing tall amid the ruins, scoring 57 off 50 balls.
Bangladesh lost Shamima Sultana early with 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.
Then came in Bangladesh’s leading run scorer and captain Sultana, 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 Sultana a platform to become the first Bangladeshi to score a half-century in the Women’s T20 World Cup.
Her half-century came off 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.
Sultana 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 Healy and Lanning soon started dominating.
Alyssa Healy (37 off 36) and Lanning’s partnership of 72 for the second wicket laid the foundations of the chase.
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.
The second-wicket partnership soon passed 50 but was ended when Healy picked out Sultana 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 home.
Australia stay in Gqeberha to face table-toppers Sri Lanka on Thursday, while Bangladesh take on New Zealand at Newlands the following day.
Brief Scores: Bangladesh 107/7; 20 overs (Nigar Sultana Joty 57, Shorna Akter 12; Georgia Wareham 3/20, Darcie Brown 2/23) lost to Australia 111/2; 18.2 overs (Meg Lanning 48, Alyssa Healy 37; Shorna Akter 1/12, Marufa Akter 1/19) by eight wickets.
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