Dhaka – The sixth edition of the ICC Women’s World Twenty 20 will begin on November 9 with Bangladesh taking on the hosts and current champions West Indies in an opening day match at Providence Stadium in Guyana.In their Group A matches, Bangladesh will face England (Nov 12), Sri Lanka (Nov 14) and South Africa (Nov 18) to confirm a seat in the last four race of the event.
Ahead of their campaign in the in the 10-team world tournament, Bangladesh completed their warm-up mission with a six-wicket win against Ireland before an eight-run loss against Pakistan in Guyana on November 4 and 7 respectively.
On the way to World T20 in Caribbean, Bangladesh, ranked ninth on the ICC Women’s T20I Team Rankings, remained irresistible throughout the eight-nation qualifiers tournament in Netherlands for an all-win title victory in July this year.
They defeated Ireland by 25-runs in the final of the qualifiers tournament in Utrecht on July 14, following victories against Scotland by 49-runs in the semifinal, eight-wickets against Papua New Guinea, seven wickets against the Netherlands and eight wickets against United Arab Emirates in their Pool ‘A’ battles.
Emerging champions in the qualifiers tournament, Bangladesh secured their third title victory in a row on the back of a maiden success in the six-nation Asia Cup T20 in Malaysia and a bilateral T20 series win by 2-1 margin against host Ireland both in June this year.
Bangladesh defeated India twice on their way to lift the Asia Cup title, and also had among their scalps Pakistan.Bangladesh have not yet won a match in WT20 but the Asia Cup title spring can bring surprises this year.
The recent records of Bangladesh made their World T20 opponents wary of and have already took preparations with hard work to pose challenges in Caribbean.
Riding high on the success in Asia Cup, Bangladesh star all-rounder Rumana Ahmed said, “Asia Cup is in our hand, the qualifier trophy is in our hand. Everything is going well, so we are confident this time.”
Rumana expressed high hopes to journalists on Wednesday, though still battling jet lag and getting all the practice they can get, especially of playing under lights – something Bangladesh hasn’t done much of.
Spin has always been their strength, having two bowlers in the top 10 of the rankings — leg-spinner Rumana at number seven and the left-arm spinner Nahida Akter at number nine.
Besides they have another leg-spinner Fahima Khatun, the first Bangladesh female cricketer to hit a T20I hat-trick that helped her team beat the UAE by eight wickets to reach the semi-finals of Women’s World T20 Qualifiers.
In recent times, they’ve hunted as a pack with good support from Khadija Tul Kubra and Salma’s off-spin, while the pacers too have pitched in.
The new-ball bowler Jahanara Alam, became the first from the country to take a five-wicket haul 5/28 against Ireland, while the tall Panna Ghosh picked up 5/16 a couple of weeks later.
Bangladesh women’s team coach Anju Jain thinks that the variety in their attack and speeds make the bowlers stand apart and offer something different.
“The game is changing, with a lot of power hitting,” pointed out Jain, identifying several of the players as capable of clearing the ropes. Constant work on fitness, and training with set targets of areas to attack and runs they want in a certain number of overs has helped them pace innings better.
Fargana Hoque and Shamima Sultana have held together the batting. Both batters have got two half-centuries this year, and between them have the top four individual scores for their country. They have also shown the ability to accelerate when needed.
No teams other than India have played as many T20Is as Bangladesh in the past 12 months.
They have tested themselves against India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Ireland, all of whom will be involved in the World T20. Ahead of the tournament, they spent a week in Grenada, practicing against boys’ teams.
They may not have won as many matches against higher-ranked teams as they’d have liked, but in all, they have 12 wins out of 20 matches this year.
“When you lose, it doesn’t mean that everything is gone,” said Rumana. “Even when we lose, we can learn. The South Africa tour was effective for us because the condition there was difficult. We knew that we played well against them. After that we played the Asia Cup and won.”
“I believe skills-wise they are at par [with higher-ranked]teams. It’s just the mindset. Just participating in a tournament is one thing, and looking to do well and making your presence felt is a different approach. That’s what we are working on, the mindset that yes, you can beat any side.”
Bangladesh Women’s squad for Women’s World T20: Salma Khatun (captain), Rumana Ahmed, Jahanara Alam, Fargana Haque, Khadija Tul Kubra, Fahima Khatun, Ayesha Rahman, Shamima Sultana (wk), Nahida Akter, Panna Ghosh, Ritu Moni, Sanjida Islam, Nigar Sultana, Lata Mondol and Sharmin Akter Supta.Stand-by: Sharmin Sultana, Surya Azmin, Shaila Sharmin and Sultana Khatun.UNB