In howling winds in Wellington, Australia beat Bangladesh by five wickets to keep their perfect record in the Women’s Cricket World Cup.
It puts an end to Bangladesh’s slender chances of reaching the semi-finals, despite the Tigers pushing the six-time winners hard in a match trimmed to 43 overs due to bad weather.
In a match that was virtually a dead-rubber for Australia, who are guaranteed a playoff position, Bangladesh reached 135-6 after being put in to bat, with Lata Mondal top-scoring with 33.
The bails would not remain on the stumps because of the heavy wind at Wellington’s Basin Reserve, so the umpires made the unusual decision to play on without them.
Both teams’ players crowded on the sidelines, wrapped in blankets and rubbing their hands together to keep warm.
“It’s undoubtedly the most difficult conditions I’ve ever played in,” Meg Lanning, Australia’s captain, said.
“I was shivering and needed to find a way to get through it and win today. We had to fight hard because Bangladesh put us under a lot of pressure and performed exceptionally well.”
In the harsh circumstances, Bangladesh’s hitters got off to a poor start, reaching 58-2 after 18 overs.
After Sharmin Akhter was dismissed for 24 runs, Bangladesh scored only eight runs in the next eight overs as Australia’s spinners heaped on the pressure.
Mondal batted aggressively late in the innings, but he was dismissed in the penultimate over, leaving Bangladesh on 135-6.
Beth Mooney led Australia’s response with an undefeated 66, which was followed up by Annabel Sutherland’s 26 not out, while Bangladesh’s Salma Khatun collected 3-23.
Australia is the only team in this year’s tournament that has not lost a game and is the clear favourite to win for the seventh time.