Bangladesh women’s team eye ending winless run in T20 World Cup

Bangladesh women's team cricketers click a selfie before their flight to South Africa from Dhaka on 23 January, 2023Shamsul Hoque

Bangladesh have been taking part in the ICC women’s Twenty20 World Cup since 2014. The upcoming edition of the tournament is set to be Bangladesh’s fifth appearance in the competition.

However, the Bangladesh women’s team doesn’t have many fond memories in the tournament. In their maiden appearance in 2014, Bangladesh had won two matches. But they have remained winless in their following three campaigns.

This year the team wants to end that drought by winning two-three matches in the group-stage. Captain Nigar Sultana said such optimistic words before the team boarded a flight to South Africa on Monday.

In this year’s tournament, Bangladesh have been slotted in Group A alongside world champions Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Sri Lanka.

Skipper Nigar said that this time her team wants to break the cycle of failure, “Everyone in the team wants to break the (losing) cycle. If we can gain the momentum in the first match and then carry it forward, then it could happen. Looking at our opponents in the group phase, I believe winning two-three matches is quite possible. We just need to gain that momentum.”

For the third straight edition, Bangladesh have qualified for the main phase of the women’s T20 World Cup as champions in the qualifiers tournament. However, Bangladesh failed to qualify for the semifinal of the last year’s women’s Asia Cup and got clean swept in New Zealand.

Still, Nigar is confident with her team which has a good mix of experience and youth.

Salma Khatun, Rumana Ahmed, Jahanara Alam and Fahima Khatun, who were part of the Bangladesh squad in their maiden T20 World Cup, have been picked alongside four Under-19 team players– Disha Biswas, Marufa Akter, Dilara Akter and Shorna Akter– who are currently taking part in the ICC Women’s Under-19 World Cup in South Africa.

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Marufa, Dilara have already made their international debut but Disha, Shorna are yet to play for the national team.

Nigar is pinning her hopes on the young recruits, “They have already played matches there (South Africa). They are in a better form then us. They are carrying good momentum. Marufa is consistently bowling well, she performed well in in New Zealand too. Disha is also doing well. Shorna Akter is consistently batting well. All in all I think the new inclusions will be beneficial for our team.”

Bangladesh Under-19 cricketer Shorna Akter plays a shot during the team's match against South Africa in the ongoing ICC Women's Under-19 World Cup in South Africa

The U-19 players are already acclimatised to the South African conditions, which Nigar saw as a huge advantage for the team, “As they are already there, I feel they will be able to contribute to the team if they get a chance in the XI. As they are performing well over there, we can all take inspiration from them.”

The ICC Women’s T20 World Cup will begin on 10 February. Bangladesh will play their opening game on 12 February.

The Bangladesh team is going to South Africa ahead of time and will hold a training camp in Cape Town, which will begin on Tuesday. The team is also expected to play two practice matches against Ireland on 31 January and 2 February.

The women’s team also held a training camp in Khulna ahead of the tournament. Nigar feels that will also help the team.

“The wickets in Khulna are conducive to fast bowling, which will help us a lot in South Africa. We will get excellent wickets in South Africa, the wickets will be sporting. There will be some extra bounce but the ball will also come onto the bat. That’s why we had a camp in Khulna. We played against a men’s team in the practice matches. We struggled to cope against the pace. But this challenge will help us do better in the following games.”

Bangladesh will also play two official practice matches ahead of the tournament. On 6 February, they will play against Pakistan in Cape Town and on 8 February, they will take on India in Stellenbosch.