Six-time champions Australia maintained their unbeaten streak in the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup with a five-wicket win over Bangladesh in a rain-affected 43-over affair at the Basin Reserve.
The win was achieved mainly on the back of Beth Mooney making a fighting, unbeaten 66, and sharing an unbroken stand of 65 with Annabel Sutherland (26 not out) to chase down 136 in 32.1 overs.
The efforts of Mooney and Sutherland came after spinner Salma Khatun, with her three for 23, gave a huge scare to Australia by taking out Alyssa Healy, Rachael Haynes, and captain Meg Lanning in quick succession.
Things went worse when Tahlia McGrath and Ashleigh Gardner fell too. But it wasn’t enough as Mooney fought through wind, freezing cold, and Bangladesh, with some support from Sutherland, to help Australia maintain their clean slate in the league stage of the mega event.
Earlier, after a delayed start due to rain, Lata Mondal top-scored for Bangladesh with an excellent 33 as Gardner and left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen took four wickets between themselves to restrict them to 135/6.
Murshida Khatun (12) and Sharmin Akhter (24) were able to safely negotiate an Australia seam attack missing star all-rounder Ellyse Perry because of injury. The pair took the score along to 33 without too much trouble. But the introduction of Gardner (2/23) changed things for Australia as Khatun fell.
Fargana Hoque (8) was dismissed by Annabel Sutherland (1/22), before Akhter and skipper Nigar Sultana (7) fell to Jess Jonassen (2/13) in quick succession to leave Bangladesh in tatters at 62/4. Rumana Ahmed (15) combined with Mondal for a 33-run stand.
But their total was never going to be enough as Mooney scripted yet another rescue act to ensure Australia entered the knockout stages of the tournament with seven wins in as many matches.
Australia 136/5 in 32.1 overs (Beth Mooney 66 not out, Annabel Sutherland 26 not out; Salma Khatun 3/23, Nahida Akter 1/33) beat Bangladesh 135/6 in 43 overs (Lata Mondal 33, Sharmin Akhter 24; Jess Jonassen 2/13, Ashleigh Gardner 2/20) by five wickets