The cricket community was left stunned at the end of the U19 Women’s World Cup opener on Saturday. For the first time, Bangladesh beat Australia. Before this, Bangladesh only ever won once against Australia, and it was in a test match in 2017 that ended in a draw.
Chasing a target of 131, Bangladesh crossed the finishing line with two overs and seven wickets to spare. When Australia had opted to bat for the match, the team lost both openers, Kate Pelle (5) and Paris Bowdler (7) early, and were reduced to 22/2. While Claire Moore had scored a half-century, Australia was restricted to 130/5 in 20 overs.
Initially, Bangladesh also had a weak start. Thanks to Afia Prottasha (24) and Dilara Akter (40), Bangladesh managed to stabilize their innings with a 66-run stand. In the end, Shorna Akter (23 not out) and Sumaiya Akter (31 not out) took them across the finishing line.
At the time of their victory, Bangladesh’s dugout had burst into wild celebrations. The situation, however, got a bit wild after fans invaded the ground and the Bangladesh cricketers had to be shielded by the security personnel at the stadium.
When talking about the team after the match, head coach Dipu Roy Chowdhury said:
“The good thing about this age group is that they listen to what you tell them. Since the last year, we have been telling them to improve in certain aspects and they are good learners. I don’t treat myself as the head coach, but I treat them as family. We gift them from our pockets if they have done something good.”
With this victory, Bangladesh has had three wins since they arrived in South Africa, all coming against teams with higher rankings in senior women’s cricket.
Before the match against Australia, the Bangladesh Women’s Team was already on a strong start. On January 9, the women’s team won by 7 runs against tournament hosts South Africa in a warm-up fixture.
According to an interview with Disha Biswas, the team captain is not over the moon with this victory against Australia. Instead, she is looking for day-to-day improvement in Bangladesh. Her dream is to win this competition like the Under-19 boys did in 2020.
The Men’s team had travelled to South Africa for the ICC U19 T20 World Cup, with the youngsters starting with a tie against Australia in their warm-up fixture. After defeating Zimbabwe and Scotland in the group stage and dismissing South Africa, New Zealand, and India in the knock-out games, they lifted the World Cup trophy.
Following the opener against Australia, Bangladesh is facing Sri Lanka on January 16. Australia, on the other hand, will be going against the United States on the same day. Currently, Bangladesh is number 1 in Group A of the tournament with two points, with Sri Lanka placing 2nd. Depending on who wins the match, Bangladesh will remain on top, or Sri Lanka may overtake them for the number 1 spot.
The group stages will run until January 19, before the top teams play against each other in the knockout rounds starting on January 21.