Bangladesh women’s cricket team skipper Salma Khatun on Monday claimed not to be bogged down by their winless campaign in the ICC Women’s Twenty20 World Cup, hoping that this harsh reality check will help the team progress in the future.
‘This experience will help us to go forward,’ Salma told reporters after her team suffered a nine-wicket thumping against Sri Lanka in their final group-stage match in Melbourne.
‘The most important thing that we learned from here is about power cricket and the level of fitness. Another important thing is how quickly you can learn. So that will definitely help us in future,’ she added.
The women’s team had a forgettable time in Australia, where they continually looked out of place when taking on top-ranking sides, losing all four of their matches to finish bottom of their five-team group.
After suffering defeats against India, hosts Australia and New Zealand, the women’s team would have hoped to end their tournament on a happy note with a win against Sri Lanka in the final match, but that wasn’t to be.
Lankan all-rounder Shashikala Siriwardene took 4-16 in her final international match to restrict Bangladesh to a mere 91-8 before they comfortably chased off the total in 15.3 overs, reaching 92-1 at the Junction Oval.
Bangladesh’s batting woes followed them to their final match of the competition, where only three of their batters reached double figure mark with Nigar Sultana top-scoring with 39 off 45 balls.
Nigar’s score was incidentally the highest individual score for a Bangladeshi batter in the tournament, as no one else managed to breach the 40-run mark, let alone a half century.
Barring the match against Australia on February 27, where they conceded 189-1 and lost the match by 86 runs, Bangladeshi bowlers fared comparatively better, with skipper Salma leading the pack with six wickets in the tournament.
But Bangladesh lacked heavily in the third department of the game, fielding, giving away runs and dropping catch at crucial junctures, like the one they dropped off Sri Lankan skipper Chamari Atapaththu in the second over, who ended up scoring 30 off 22 balls.
Salma accepted that fielding has been a big issue for them in the tournament and said that they were keen to return home and start working on their shortcomings in the department.
‘The fielding, that is really a big concern for us, definitely. We took our notes on it and after going back to our home with this experience, we’ll set our strategy and set our planning how we can improve our field for other series for future. Definitely we’ll work on it,’ she said.
The women’s team had a number of new experiences in the tournament, as this was the first time they got to play in Australia and face the hosts and New Zealand for the first time in women’s cricket in any format of the game.
Salma strongly felt that the national team needed to face top sides more regularly to rise to the next level of women’s cricket.
‘The first thing that will help us to improve our skill and performance, I believe it’s the level of fitness. And the second most crucial thing is we need to play regularly with the top-ranked teams.
‘And we should have a chance to exchange tools between top-ranked teams and us. So the more we’ll play with them, the more we’ll improve. So that is the key for us,’ Salma said.