Soon after India Women beat Bangladesh Women by nine wickets in the Super Six match of the Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2017 at the Nondescripts Cricket Club on Friday (February 17), the Bangladesh dugout wore a gloomy look. Rumana Ahmed, their captain, sat with her hands on the head and David Capel, the coach, did not hide his anger.
Capel’s first aim after being appointed as the coach in October last year was to help Bangladesh qualify for the Women’s World Cup in England. It now looks an improbable task. They have a net run-rate of -1.006, and have to beat Sri Lanka, whose net run-rate is -0.005, by a convincing margin to be one of the four teams to qualify.
“We have to go and find out what the actual situation is. We know we have to win by a large margin (against Sri Lanka),” Capel said. “We have certainly not helped ourselves with today’s performance.”
The result against India was not surprising considering Bangladesh, who started playing One-Day Internationals in 2011, have won only seven of their 30 matches. Three of those victories have come against Ireland Women, and two each against South Africa and Pakistan.
Lack of exposure means they have not been able to really come of their own in this tournament. The field against the Indian spinners demanded the middle-order to play more sweep shots, but they hardly went for it even if that was the plan. Mithali Raj (73 not out) and Mona Meshram (78 not out) showed how it should be done during their unbroken second-wicket stand of 136 runs during the chase of 156.
“(Mithali) gave a masterclass along with her partner on how to play spin. They used their feet against the spinners virtually off every ball. They got forward and went back to those that were shorter,” Capel pointed out. “By contrast, our girls did not use their feet and there was reluctance to play the sweep shot. To be 72 (74) runs in the first 32 overs with just two wickets lost is inexcusable. It killed the game for us.
“We have got to this stage where we talk about using our feet, and talk about playing the sweep shot. The closest fielder on the square of the wicket was ten metres in front of the square when were batting and still nobody played a paddle sweep shot,” he elaborated. “It is disappointing as we talk about it. We practice it (but) there is reluctance to use it on the day. I am disappointed with it and that people can bat till 42nd (43rd) over for 50 runs and think that’s good enough. Because it is not.”
We have got to this stage where we talk about using our feet, and talk about playing the sweep shot. The closest fielder on the square of the wicket was ten metres in front of the square when were batting and still nobody played a paddle sweep shot. It is disappointing as we talk about it. We practice it (but) there is reluctance to use it on the day.
Capel was referring to Fargana Hoque, the No. 4 batter, who came in at 14 for 2 in 9.3 overs, and played 107 balls for her 50. During the course of her third fifty in six innings, Hoque became the third batter in the tournament to cross the 200-run mark. But her strike-rate of 53.10 is the lowest among the top five run-getters.
It is difficult to really put the onus of the defeat completely on Hoque. She is just 23 years old, and has played only 28 ODIs so far. Capel, though, refused to believe that pressure of the situation could have got on to her.
“Might be you have to talk to the person themself. I don’t see the pressure of the situation,” Capel said. “I see a reluctance to use the feet against the spinners, play sweep shot. Whatever the reason that might be, I am yet to find.”
The only positive for Bangladesh in the game was the third-wicket partnership of 62 runs in 23.2 overs between Hoque and Sharmin Akther, the opener who made 35. That their partnership lasted so long was because Akther missed being run out twice in the 19th and 22nd over. After their partnership, Soni Yadav, substituting for Raj, missed an easy catch at mid-on to mark a poor fielding day for India.
While playing six matches in humid conditions in a space of 11 days must have had an effect on the fitness level of the players, Raj felt that the elevated square in comparison to the outfield was a factor.
“Today some of the misfielding was because the square was too high. The girls were telling that it bothered them a bit, and it took some time for the fielders to get adjusted because you are either climbing or getting down,” Raj explained. “But otherwise the catches that were dropped is something we need to look into because those were the areas – mid-off and mid-on, where we dropped catches in the previous games also. Otherwise the fielding has been decent.”