Wellington: Defending champions England on Sunday booked their spot in the semi-finals of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup with a 100-run win over Bangladesh in their final league stage match at Basin Reserve.
It marks a remarkable entry for the Heather Knight-led side into the last-four stage after starting their defence of the World Cup win with a hat-trick of losses.
It means England’s opponents in the semi-final will either be Australia or South Africa, which is now dependent on the result of the match between India and South Africa at Hagley Oval.
India needs to keep South Africa to 173 or lower to finish third and push England to fourth. If South Africa go past 174, India’s best hope will be to finish fourth while England will be third.
Right-handed batter Sophia Dunkley’s 72-ball 67 helped the reigning champions come out of trouble and post 234/6 in their 50 overs. In defence of their total, left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone’s economical spell of 3/15 backed by 3/31 from Charlie Dean and 1/15 from captain Heather Knight meant Bangladesh never threatened to chase down the total and were bowled out for 134 in 48 overs.
England’s quest to reach the knockout stages of the tournament started poorly, with Danni Wyatt (6) and Knight (6) falling inside the first eight overs with the score 26.
Vice-captain Nat Sciver (40) and Tammy Beaumont (33) put on 60 for the third wicket to help get England back on track. But Beaumont was dismissed by Ritu Moni on the first ball of the 25th over as Bangladesh fought back strongly.
In trouble at 96/4, Dunkley bailed out England with her stunning knock having a mix of aerial shots with strike rotation and got some support coming from wicketkeeper Amy Jones (31) and Katherine Brunt (24 not out) scoring some valuable late runs to ensure England reached a winning total. Dunkley and Jones shared a crucial stand of 72 for England while Salma Khatun, with her 2/46, was the pick of the Bangladesh bowlers.
In terms of batting, which has been their biggest issue in the World Cup, Bangladesh faltered. All-rounder Lata Mondal top-scored with 30 and openers Shamima Sultana and Sharmin Akhter made 23 apiece.
But none of the other batters found scoring easy to come by against England’s bowling attack minus a rested Anya Shrubsole and folded for 134 to end their maiden World Cup stint on a losing note.
Brief scores: England 234/6 in 50 overs (Sophia Dunkley 67, Nat Sciver 40; Salma Khatun 2/46, Fahima Khatun 1/24) beat Bangladesh 134 all out in 48 overs (Lata Mondal 30, Sharmin Akhter 23; Sophie Ecclestone 3/15, Charlie Dean 3/30) by 100 runs.