Both Pakistan and Bangladesh will be looking to open their account on the points table when the two bottom-placed teams clash in the ICC Women’s World Cup at the Seddon Park here on Monday.
Of the eight teams competing in the tournament, Pakistan, Bangladesh and defending champions England are the only sides which have not tasted a win so far. Pakistan, though, have played three games compared to two each by England and Bangladesh.
Come Monday, one of the two teams will have points on the board, and whoever does will have kept its hopes of finishing in the top-four of the tournament’s group stage alive. The top four teams will make it to the semifinals.
Bismah Maroof’s Pakistan ran South Africa close in Mount Maunganui the last time around, putting in an improved showing from the heavy defeats to India and Australia they suffered earlier in the group stage.
Maroof said the loss to the Proteas showed the importance of winning the “key moments”.
“We have talked in meetings about key moments in these crucial matches and I think we fought really hard to try and win the match, but yes the key moments we lost,” Maroof said. “I think South Africa deserved to win and yes credit to batters as well — we had good partnerships in the middle as well.
“There are positives we can take into the next game, especially batting where we built those partnerships. We’re looking forward to our next match against Bangladesh, and we’ll try to win every match we have left at the tournament.”
On the other hand, their opponents on Monday, Bangladesh, have had a week to wait between matches after early defeats to South Africa and New Zealand. Bangladesh will be looking for a positive performance after going winless since arriving in New Zealand, having also lost both their warm-up games.
One of those warm-up defeats was against Pakistan, where Nigar Sultana’s side snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in a rain-affected match. Bangladesh’s fragile batting will have to quickly shape up for the crucial clash on Monday.
Pakistan captain Maroof will have to play a crucial role with the bat if her team hopes to survive in the tournament. Her performances on the pitch have been noteworthy, with her 78 against Australia’s high-quality bowling showing her class.
Her go-to bowler, left-armer Nashra Sandhu, has been impressive with an average of just over 28. Sandhu is sure to be used in the middle overs of an innings to try and quell the run rate of opposition teams.
For Bangladesh, much is expected of their captain Nigar Sultana with the bat and behind the stumps. Sultana has already scored an international century in 50-over cricket and has shown the ability to compete well with the best attacks in the world on previous occasions.
Pakistan Squad: Bismah Maroof (c), Nida Dar (vc), Aiman Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Ghulam Fatima, Javeria Khan, Muneeba Ali, Nahida Khan, Nashra Sundhu, Omaima Sohail, Sidra Amin and Sidra Nawaz.
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.