Bangladesh upset Pakistan in World Cup Qualifier opener; Thailand beat Zimbabwe on ODI debut

Thailand (L) and Bangladesh (R) © Cricket Thailand / Zimbabwe Cricket

Fuelled by a late flourish from Rumana Ahmed, Bangladesh pulled off an upset against Pakistan in the opening match of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Harare on Sunday (November 21). In the other match, Thailand registered a narrow win against Zimbabwe in their first ever official ODI.

Put into bat at the Old Hararians, Pakistan started slowly and found themselves in early trouble when they lost Ayesha Zafar to a run out in the seventh over. Muneeba Ali and Javeria Khan took the score to 42 with some sedate batting. However, Pakistan suffered a collapse from there as Ritu Moni struck twice to remove Ali and Omaima Sohail in the same over. With Nahida Akter accounting for Khan and Iram Javed in consecutive overs, they were reeling at 49 for five in the 18th over.

At that stage, Riaz walked in to join Dar at the crease and the duo started slowly. They didn’t score a single boundary in first eight overs of the partnership. In the 27th over, Dar broke the shackles and hit Jahanara Alam for a four through mid-on.

Pakistan were 115 for five at the end of the 40th over and once Dar reached her fifty with a single in the next over, the pair opened up to attack Bangladesh bowlers. Dar started the onslaught with a six off Lata Mondal and they scored 56 runs in the last five overs.

Dar picked Alam for some special punishment, hitting the pacer for a six and four as 14 runs came in the over. 16 runs came in the penultimate over even as the allrounder got out for her career-best score of 87. At the other end, Riaz brought up her fifty from 76 balls with a six off Salma Khatun. Pakistan eventually finished on 201 for seven from their 50 overs.

For Bangladesh, Moni and Akter were the best bowlers with two wickets each.

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Bangladesh’s chase got off to a rocky start as Murshida Khatun fell to Anam Amin for just nine in the fifth over. Although, Sharmin Akhter and Fargana Hoque added 70 runs for the second wicket, they took their time. They were 25 for one at the end of the power play.

Post the power play, Bangladesh needed the batters to up the ante, but they failed to do it with Pakistan left-arm spinners Amin and Nashra Sandhu keeping it tight. Sandhu was eventually rewarded with the wicket of Akhter and skipper Nigar Sultana couldn’t get a move on either.

Sultana’s laborious effort came to an end in the 33rd over when she became Sandhu’s second wicket. Once Hoque fell to Dar for 45, it looked like Bangladesh’s hope of chasing down the target ended there.

However, Ahmed and Moni hit a flurry of boundaries during their stand to reduce the target to 43 from the last five overs. But Bangladesh lost Moni in the final ball of the 45th over after hitting three consecutive fours.

From there, even though Sohail took two wickets in an over to raise some hopes for Pakistan, Ahmed opened up to hit Sohail for four boundaries in the 48th over to put Bangladesh firmly on their way to an upset. 12 runs came from the next over bowled by Diana Baig. Ahmed’s 50 came from just 44 balls as the allrounder remained not out to guide Bangladesh home with two balls to spare.

At the Harare Sports Club, opting to bat first, Thailand lost Nattaya Boochatham early with Esther Mbofana accounting for her. Despite losing her partner, Nattakan Chantham played aggressively and she found a good company in Sornnarin Tippoch. They added 92 runs for the second wicket to take the score over the three-figure mark.

Even though they soon lost both the batters to Loreen Tshuma, consistent contributions from Nannapat Koncharoenkai, Naruemol Chaiwai and Chanida Sutthiruang took them to a competitive total. Sutthiruang and Onnicha Kamchomphu were aggressive in the final few overs as Thailand finished on 247 for six from the stipulated fifty overs.

In reply, Zimbabwe started sedately with Modester Mupachikwa and Sharne Mayers adding 49 runs for the opening wicket. Thailand eventually had the breakthrough when Kamchomphu removed Mupachikwa in the 17th over.

However, that brought Josephine Nkomo to the crease and she was aggressive from the start. Mayers and Nkomo added 59 runs for the second wicket before the former fell to Suleeporn Laomi. Skipper Mary-Anne Musonda was inventive with her stroke play and found boundaries at will, but she lost Nkomo at the other end as she became Laomi’s second wicket.

From there, despite Musonda and Precious Marange trying their level best, Zimbabwe finished eight runs short. For Thailand, Laomi was the best bowler with two wickets to her credit. Musonda remained unbeaten on 69 off 65 balls.

Brief Scores:

Pakistan 201/7 in 50 overs (Nida Dar 87, Aliya Riaz 61*; Nahida Akter 2/25) lost to Bangladesh 202/7 in 49.4 overs (Rumana Ahmed 50*, Fargana Hoque 45; Nashra Sandhu 2/24) by 3 wickets

Thailand 247/6 in 50 overs (Natthakan Chantham 48, Nannapat Koncharoenkai 47; Loreen Tshuma 2/35) beat Zimbabwe 239/5 in 50 overs (Mary-Anne Musonda 69*, Josephine Nkomo 56; Suleeporn Laomi 2/51) by 8 runs

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