Can Bangladesh spoil England's group-stage rescue operation?
- Match 27: England Women v Bangladesh Women
- Basin Reserve, Wellington
- Sunday 27 March, 11:00 Local Time
Win and England will be through to the semi-finals of the World Cup. Lose and they will be waiting nervously on the result of Sunday’s other fixture between South Africa and India in Christchurch.
The four-time winners and current holders are three-quarters of the way through a rescue operation in New Zealand.
A hat-trick of defeats at the start of the group stage left England with a must-win scenario in all of their remaining fixtures, and wins over India, New Zealand and Pakistan have put them on the brink of completing the great escape.
But it won’t be easy against a Bangladesh side who have come close to adding to their solitary win on a number of occasions, perfectly highlighting how the level of competition has increased in the women’s game over the past decade.
“It certainly felt like back then we were up there as the best team in the world, either first or second, for a long time,” Katherine Brunt, a World Cup winner in 2009 and 2017, said.
“Now obviously, many years later, the world has caught up and there are some brilliant teams around the globe now. And some brilliant players have come out of the woodwork and have gotten better and better and better.
“That's credit to the sport and where we're going and the professionalism of it. So everything is a lot harder now – the competition is very strong and you know, not one game is a laidback game. Everything has to be taken very seriously.”
And England will certainly need to take Bangladesh seriously in Wellington.
Nigar Sultana’s side looked on track for the biggest upset in the history of the tournament last time out when they had Australia reeling at 70/5 in reply to 135.
Beth Mooney dug the world’s top-ranked team out of a hole on that occasion, but the game was another indication of the quality of the Bangladesh team.
And Sultana’s attitude reflects the raising standards, with the skipper saying she is unhappy with just the one win at the nation’s first-ever Women’s World Cup.
“I’m definitely not satisfied, because based on our performance we thought we would win three or four matches here,” she said. “And it was almost possible, we lost a lot of close matches.
“I would say it is down to a lack of experience. We could have performed a little better as a team, I think we still have a long way to go.
“So as far as we can take positives from here, those who have done well, we have had a lot of good performances. If we can carry those things forward then I think this team will be in a much better place in the future.”
Bangladesh Squad: Nigar Sultana (c), Salma Khatun, Rumana Ahmed, Fargana Hoque, Jahanara Alam, Shamima Sultana, Fahima Khatun, Ritu Moni, Murshida Khatun, Nahida Akter, Sharmin Akhter, Lata Mondal, Sobhana Mostary, Fariha Trisna, Suraiya Azmin, Sanjida Akter Meghla
England Squad: Heather Knight (c), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Freya Davies, Charlie Dean, Sophia Dunkley, Kate Cross, Sophie Ecclestone, Tash Farrant, Amy Jones, Emma Lamb, Nat Sciver (vc), Anya Shrubsole, Lauren Winfield-Hill, Danni Wyatt.
Nigar Sultana - Much was expected of the Bangladesh captain with the bat and behind the stumps at this tournament, and it came as no surprise to see the 24-year-old shine. Sultana has already scored an international century in 50-over cricket and has shown the ability to compete well against the best attacks in the world, and will be looking to end her tournament on a high.
Tammy Beaumont - The England opener always seems to save herself for the big occasion. Beaumont topped the scoring charts at the 2017 ICC Women's Cricket World Cup with a whopping 410 runs and will be looking to deliver at this business end of the 2022 tournament.
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Captaincy Pick – Natalie Sciver
So often considered a generational talent in English cricket, Natalie Sciver’s international record has been good but not as great as her potential could see her reach. But if she clicks then the 29-year-old could steer her side to glory, and her outstanding century in the loss to Australia hinted that she’s at the top of her game at precisely the right moment for England.
Must have – Salma Khatun
The experienced all-rounder has enjoyed a wonderful tournament, picking up eight wickets to-date with her beguiling off-spin, including the sought-after scalp of Meg Lanning with a ripper. She’s pitched in with handy cameos with the bat too, standing out as one of the Tigers’ most important players.
This is the penultimate of seven matches held at the Basin Reserve in Wellington over the course of the tournament.
An established international-standard ground, 'The Basin' will also be the site of the first semi-final.
All eight teams at the tournament have played each other across seven rounds in a league format.
The top four teams in the standings after the conclusion of the final Group Stage matches will qualify for the semi-finals, which will be held next week.
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