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Unlike what was anticipated in the Women's World T20, India are leading the Group A with Australia on the second spot. While the most important match of this Group is going to be played between Australia Women and New Zealand Women, both the sides would need to win all their remaining matches as well. New Zealand Women, who lost their last match to India Women, are set to lock horns with Bangladesh Women in the upcoming Group B encounter. The match is to be played on 29th February at Melbourne Cricket Ground. Bangladesh are coming off a massive defeat at the hands of the hosts and will be looking to get out of this tournament before bowing out. Although a win is unlikely to them, we expect them to come out all guns blazing in this encounter.
<h2>New Zealand Women </h2>
With a narrow defeat to India's women and Australia's massive win over Bangladesh Women, New Zealand Women lost their second spot on the points table. They are behind Australia on both net run-rate and points, but it could all change if they manage to defeat the Aussies in the upcoming encounter. As it stands, the Kiwis have two points to their name with a net run-rate of 0.429 and this match would be a huge opportunity for the Kiwis to boost their net run-rate as Australia did in their match against Bangladesh.
New Zealand were left heart-broken in their previous match, in which they were defeated by a narrow margin of three runs. Bowling first, the Kiwi bowlers were impressive and kept India quiet for most part of the first innings. Barring Shafali Verma, no Indian batsmen managed to score at a quick face as New Zealand went back as the happier of the two sides after the first innings break.
Although their bowlers did well and skipper Sophie Devine was pretty proactive on the field, it surprising to see that Lea Tahuhu bowled only a couple of overs. Amelia Kerr was their most impressive bowlers and she returned with two wickets for 21.
New Zealand needed to chase 133 runs to win the match and they looked out for most part of the innings. India's spin heavy strategy seemed to paying off up until the second last over, in which Amelia Kerr broke the shackles and collected 18 runs. With 15 needed off final over, New Zealand were well within the reach of chasing it down, but Shikha Pandey held her nerve to keep the Kiwis at bay.
While New Zealand have a pretty solid team on-paper, not all their batsmen are in form. Barring Sophie Devine, who has done an excellent job up until now, their other batsmen would have to step up for the Kiwis to progress to the next round. Having said that, New Zealand are a strong side and may get the momentum they need in their upcoming encounter against Bangladesh.
Sophie Devine, Rachel Priest, Suzie Bates, Maddy Green, Katey Martin, Amelia Kerr, Hayley Jensen, Anna Peterson, Leigh Kasperek, Lea Tahuhu, Rosemary Mair.
Although Bangladesh are playing Women's Cricket from quite some time now, they are still not a well established name in Women's Cricket. It could have all changed had they managed to win any of their opening two encounters but they failed despite coming close. In their match against India, they kept India to a reasonably low total, but their batsmen failed them and against the Aussies, their bowlers looked to be way off the path as Australia smashed 189 runs with the loss of one wicket. Needless to say, Bangladesh failed to chase that down as well.
As per the current standings, Bangladesh are at the bottom of the points table and would need to win at least one of their remaining two matches. They go in as underdogs against the Kiwis, but are certainly more than capable of causing an upset here.
Bowling first against Australian Women, all Bangladeshi bowlers were carted away for runs. Khadija Tul Kubra was the most expensive of their bowlers as she gave away 29 runs in her two overs. Jahanara Alam, as well, could not get her radar right and was smashed for 40 runs in his four overs. Eventually, with none of their bowlers looking in control, Bangladesh were left to chase 189 runs. Their performance with the bat was as listless as it was with the ball as none of batsmen looked settled against the Aussies. Fargana Hoque scored 36, but her innings was too slow as compared to the required run-rate.
Up until now, Bangladesh have played two of the strongest teams of their Group and the results have been far from satisfactory. They no longer have the chance to qualify for the next round, but would still love to leave the tournament with a high. They'll have to play out of their skins to do that and even if they do so, beating New Zealand is not going to be easy.
Ayasha Rahman, Murshida Khatun, Ritu Moni, Nigar Sultana, Fargana Hoque, Rumana Ahmed, Sobhana Mostary, Salma Khatun, Fahima Khatun, Jahanara Alam, Panna Ghosh.
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The difference between the two sides is immense, but considering how closely fought this tournament has been up until now, the Kiwis would not want to be complacent. Kiwis narrowly missed their target against the Indians, but it was nonetheless a decent performance by them. A big win here would put them at par with the Aussies and that is exactly what they will be looking to do. Comparing the two sides on paper and on performance in the tournament so far, New Zealand Women are firm favorites to emerge on top in the upcoming fixture.
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