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WWC 2022, Ban vs Pak – Fahima Khatun


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Legspinner, Player of the Match in Bangladesh’s win over Pakistan, is hoping her team gets to play the likes of Australia, England and New Zealand more

Legspinner Fahima Khatun was brought back for her second spell in the 40th over of the Pakistan run chase. At that stage, Pakistan needed 72 in 66 balls with eight wickets in hand. After a quiet first over, Fahima dismissed Omaima Sohail, Aliya Riaz and Fatima Sana in the space of four deliveries, and that turned the game, decisively, in Bangladesh’s favour.
“When I bowled, I was happy to repay the faith the captain and other senior players had placed in me,” Fahima said. “She [Nigar Sultana, the captain] is very involved. When she brought me in today, she said that she believed in me, and that she expected good things from me. (She) just asked me to play normally.

“I just wanted to bowl in the right areas and bowl as many dot balls as possible, and the wickets would come. If the scoreboard pressure is there, they will give us wickets. The asking rate was 6.5-7 when I came to bowl (in the second spell). So I just had to bowl normally, and I was successful.”

“I was trying to bowl in the blockhole in the second spell, so they couldn’t hit me over the field. I was trying to mix it up. They needed six-seven runs per over, so I was trying to give away two-three runs”

Fahima Khatun

Pakistan fell short by nine runs in their pursuit of 235, handing Bangladesh their first win in a World Cup match in what is also their debut in the tournament. The collapse, from 183 for 2 to 225 for 9, was triggered by the two legspinners, Fahima (3 for 38) and Rumana Ahmed (2 for 29).

“I was confident that the batters would not be able to hit me for over-boundaries,” Fahima, who won the Player of the Match award, said. “I was trying to bowl in the blockhole in the second spell, so they couldn’t hit me over the field. I was trying to mix it up. They needed six-seven runs per over, so I was trying to give away two-three runs.”

Bangladesh came into the game visibly high on confidence. While their openers got going against the seamers before falling to spin, Fargana Hoque and Nigar kept them going with a 96-run third-wicket partnership. Even when Pakistan openers Sidra Ameen and Nahida Khan had set up the chase with a 91-run opening stand, Bangladesh kept their cool. After all, they had won three of the last four matches the two sides had contested.

“I have said this before and will say it again, that I, and everyone else, we are always very hungry to play well against Pakistan and beat them,” Fahima said. “We have always said that our bowlers win matches for us, and the batters don’t contribute so much. But at this World Cup, the batters have contributed a lot and the bowlers are doing a good support job. If there is a good stand at the start, and the pressure builds, it is a cause for concern.

“But we wanted to keep the run-pressure on them even though we weren’t getting wickets. We didn’t panic, even though we dropped some chances and missed a couple of run-out opportunities. We bowled well, and did well on the field, which is why we won.”

At the World Cup, Bangladesh are playing teams they aren’t too used to playing in ODIs. While they went down to New Zealand, whom they played for the first time, they will later face Australia and England, new opponents for them.

“We haven’t played much against England and Australia and New Zealand. So we are also unknowns to them, like they are to us,” Fahima said. “This is the first time we have qualified for the World Cup. I am hoping we would get more chances going forward. Our average age and experience are low. But all of us can bat, right down to No. 10, all of us are allrounders. We have played Pakistan and India, and South Africa (before).”

After wrapping up the game, the Bangladesh players, led by Fahima and Nahida Akhter, were seen celebrating with a gig.

“We always try to do something special when we pick up wickets… it lifts us,” Fahima said. “I feel that this win, the winning habit, is good for us for the future. Since it’s our first World Cup, we want to take back some good memories. We have worked very hard to get here. I hope this has a big impact on women’s cricket in Bangladesh.”





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