by IANS |
Gqeberha (South Africa), Feb 15 (IANS) Captain Meg Lanning hailed a successful return for 'game-changer' Georgia Wareham after the leg-spinners starring role in Australia's eight-wicket win over Bangladesh at the ongoing ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2023, here.
The 23-year-old, who ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament 15 months ago, took three for 20 to help restrict Bangladesh to 107 and earn the Player of the Match award in her first appearance of the competition.
Australia skipper Lanning then led the reply with an unbeaten 48 as the reigning champions completed their second successive victory with 10 balls to spare on Tuesday night.
"It was great to see Georgia Wareham back. She has had a long road back from a pretty serious injury," said Lanning in the post-match presentation.
"She is a game-changer who is able to impact the game in all three facets and that's certainly very handy to have. We're pumped to have her back and it is nice to see her do so well," she added.
The Australian skipper also paid tribute to Bangladesh's bowling attack, reserving special praise for 18-year-old Marufa Akter, who was her side's leading wicket taker at the recent ICC U19 Women's T20 World Cup and took the early wicket of Beth Mooney to add to the three she claimed against Sri Lanka.
"It was pretty challenging out there with the bat at times. I thought Bangladesh bowled extremely well and made it pretty difficult for us. Marufa was very impressive. She bowled with good pace and swing and really challenged us but we expected that, " said Lanning.
"I think the U19 World Cup was excellent to get young girls exposed to some high-pressure cricket and we saw today how that will allow them to take the next step," she added.
On the other hand, Nigar Sultana Joty also impressed in a losing cause, becoming the Bangladesh batter to hit a half-century at an ICC Women's T20 World Cup with an elegant 57, and commended the youngster on her performance.
"Marufa is improving and she's 18, even though it doesn't look it. She plays cricket so naturally, she's so mature and bowled really well against some world-class batters," said Nigar.
Nigar went on to pinpoint batting as an area in which her side will look to improve before they take on New Zealand on Friday.
"Obviously we need to work on our batting unit. In the last five overs, we couldn't get as many boundaries as we wanted. We need to work on that in the next couple of games and obviously give a boost to the mood," she said. ?
"We didn't get many runs in the powerplay, we wanted to get at least 40. We lost [Shorna's] wicket and after that I was trying to recover, but I couldn't," she added.
Nigar, who struck seven fours and a six, shared a promising partnership of 44 with 16-year-old Shorna Akter but rued her side's inability to post a more challenging total.
"I was in there and it was a very good track. I just tried to play my natural game because I know that if [Shorna] is going to bat for a long time then we can get a good total on the scoreboard," the batter said.
"I was just looking for that and trying to plan each and every over, trying to hit a boundary. But unfortunately we couldn't make it," she added.