Cape Town, Feb 17 (IANS) New Zealand kept their faint hopes of reaching the semifinals alive with an emphatic 71-run win over Bangladesh in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup at the Newlands here on Friday.
Suzie Bates’s superb 81 runs set the White Ferns on their way to a first victory of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023, validating their decision to bat first with a tournament-high 189 for three in their 20 overs.
That proved far too much for the Tigresses, whose chances of a miraculous victory fell away after losing two wickets early in their reply, as they stuttered to 118 for eight.
Needing a big win to stand a chance of progressing to the last four, New Zealand opted for a hit-and-run approach from the off. Bernadine Bezuidenhout started the innings with purpose, guiding a wide and fullish first ball from Marufa Akter down to the third-man boundary.
That set the tone for a positive start which bordered on overzealous at times, with Bates likely to have been run out but for a poor throw inside the inner ring. The White Ferns’ former captain started patiently, but after passing Australia’s Meg Lanning for most runs at Women’s T20 World Cups, soon found her stride.
Bezuidenhout kept her foot on the pedal too and finished the powerplay just as she had started, with a controlled stroke to the fence as New Zealand sat nicely poised at 49 for no loss after six overs. The pair continued to motor, punishing each poor delivery, before Bezuidenhout was dismissed looking to charge Shorna Akter just six short of her half-century.
Amelia Kerr joined Bates in the middle and made a handy 16 before she was dismissed caught and bowled by Fahima Khatun.
Fahima’s celebrations were muted then but they were not just a ball later when she split the gap between Sophie Devine’s bat and pad, sending the New Zealand skipper back to the hut when she was just three runs short of 3,000 T20I runs.
But Bates refused to let the innings drift, and after reaching her 50 off just 43 balls, found the boundary with increasing regularity, as did Maddy Green, who helped pile on the runs in the closing stages. The pair hit 60 runs off the final five overs to post a mammoth 189 for three, with Green finishing unbeaten on 44 and Bates not out on 81.
Requiring a record run-chase to keep their knockout hopes alive, Bangladesh came out all guns blazing, hitting 12 off the first over including a gargantuan six from Shamima Sultana. But hopes of an extraordinary win soon faded, with Hannah Rowe sending Shamima and Sobhana Mostary back to the hut in consecutive overs. As the required run rate soared, the pressure mounted and Nigar Sultana was the next to fall, bowled by Kerr for eight with Pakistan 54 for three in the tenth over.
Shorna and Murshida Khatun offered some resistance, both passing 30, but it was never going to be enough to threaten New Zealand on the scoreboard. A flurry of late wickets arrived before the close, three of which came to Eden Carson, as New Zealand closed out a brilliant day in style.
Devine’s side could still make the knockout stages if they secure another resounding win over Sri Lanka and results elsewhere go their way, while Bangladesh will head home after their final game against hosts South Africa.
New Zealand 189/3 in 20 overs (Suzie Bates 81 not out, Maddy Green 44 not out; Fahima Khatun 2-36, Shorna Akter 1-12) beat Bangladesh 118/8 in 20 overs (Shorna Akter 31, Murshida Khatun 30; Eden Carson 3-18, Hannah Rowe 2-15) by 71 runs.