Colombo: On the eve of its opening ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2017 fixture, Pauke Siaka, the Papua New Guinea captain, had mentioned the challenge her team faced in batting out 50 overs. The task before the side was underlined on Tuesday (February 7), when it folded for 97 in 32.1 overs against Bangladesh, going down by 118 runs.
Choosing to bat in its Group B match at Colombo Cricket Club, Bangladesh rode on fifties from Sharmin Akhter and Fargana Hoque to post 215 for 6 in 50 overs. It then backed it up with a combined bowling effort as PNG couldn’t recover from the new-ball attack that reduced it to 2 for 2 by the third over.
After the opening salvo fired by Bangladesh’s new ball bowlers Jahanara Alam and Panna Ghosh, Tanya Ruma (20) and Siaka (32) attempted a recovery, and Konia Oala (29) smashed two massive sixes, but another collapse undid their good work. The last five wickets fell for 12 runs as Alam, Ghosh, Salma Khatun and Rumana Ahmed, the captain, all finished with two wickets each.
Earlier, Mairi Tom gave PNG the perfect opening with a second-over wicket to reduce Bangladesh to 1 for 1. But vital fifty-plus stands for the second and third wickets gave Rumana’s team the platform to bat out 50 overs and build a total.
Akhter (56 off 86, with seven fours) and Hoque (51 off 72, seven fours) had seen their team to nearly 31 overs when the plan of keeping wickets in hand threatened to unravel. Ravini Oa struck twice with the last two balls of that over to have Akhter caught at mid-wicket and Rumana bowled, as Bangladesh suddenly found itself 121 for 4.
Handy knocks from the middle order, built around the experienced Salma Khatun’s 31-ball 32, propped up the side. The total proved well out of reach once the bowlers got into the act.
Bangladesh next plays Pakistan on Wednesday at the P Sara Stadium, while PNG is in action on February 10, also against Pakistan.