Spinners Ecclestone, Dean, Knight shared seven wickets between them
England Women 234 for 6 (Dunkley 67, Sciver 40, Jones 31, Khatun 2-46) beat Bangladesh Women 134 all out (Mondal 30, Ecclestone 3-15, Dean 3-30) by 100 runs
Nat Sciver‘s 40 and Katherine Brunt‘s lower-order cameo, too, played a pivotal part in England’s final league-stage victory as 234 proved well beyond the reach of Bangladesh, who were bowled out for 134 in 48 overs.
With a fourth successive win to rebound from three consecutive losses that rocked the start of their campaign, England will face South Africa in the semi-final next week; South Africa knocked out India in a last-ball finish in the final group-stage match later in the day*.
Bangladesh’s canny performance with the ball, a standout feature throughout their maiden ODI World Cup campaign, was the high point of their final game of the tournament, too. what was the first meeting between the two teams in the format, Bangladesh, the only bowling side in the tournament that didn’t conceded 250 or more against any opposition, left England reeling 96 for 4 after England opted to bat on the used Basin Reserve surface.
Bangladesh kept England on a leash with miserly opening spells from double-change Nahida Akter and Ritu Moni who were introduced after the 11th over. Sciver then led a rebuild with a 101-ball 60 stand with opener Tammy Beaumont, who struggled against spinners and medium-pacers alike.
After hobbling to a scratchy 69-ball 33, Beaumont chipped a fullish ball from pacer Moni to Fahima Khatun in the 25th over. England went from 86 for 3 to 96 for 4 in the space of 11 balls as a second successful review overturned a decision in Bangladesh’s favour: Sciver trapped lbw by Fahima.
At 112 for 4 with 20 overs to go, England required a steady hand from both Jones and Dunkley, who were on 11 and 10 from 16 balls each at the time. To a great measure, they played their part to perfection, putting on 72 for the fifth wicket.
Dunkley and Jones carted Alam for 12 in the 41st over upon her return for a second spell. Nigar dropped Jones on 30 off Akter soon after but the England No. 5 could add only one more run to her name before driving an easy catch to Salma at extra cover. With Lata Mondal providing the breakthrough, England slumped to 178 for 5.
Dunkley took calculated risks with her power-packed aerial strokes to complement her strike rotation with a gallery of easy-on-the-eye shots along the ground. She struck her fifth four before nudging Akter into the off side to reach her maiden World Cup fifty.
Brunt’s arrival at the crease injected urgency in England’s run-scoring. She ran hard for her two threes in the 14-run 46th over by Akter. England’s fastest block of 50 runs in the game came off 44 balls, taking them to 200. Dunkley’s stumping off Salma, however, somewhat pegged England in their bid to find a flourish in the closing overs.
The tally of 79 in the final 10 overs could have been much higher had Dunkley been in the middle longer. But the final-ball six – the first of the match – from Ecclestone ensured England took the momentum into their dressing room and firmly plonked a foot on the door leading to the knockouts.
The chase, as expected, suffered from the want of firepower in Bangladesh’s batting ranks. They started off slow, but denied England, who missed a run-out opportunity against Shamima Sultana thanks to a poor throw from Dunkley first ball, any inroads in the 24-run powerplay.
During the first ten overs, Akhter’s back-to-back fours broke a six-over boundary-less spell. Shamima Sultana, too, showed aggression in flashes in her 63-ball 23. But after lofting top-ranked ODI bowler Ecclestone, who had bowled Akhter, for a four, she picked out Kate Cross at mid-off. Ecclestone rounded out that over, the 20th one in the innings, with a wicket maiden.
Bangladesh had no answers for Ecclestone, who finished with 3 for 15, and remained atop the wicket-taking charts of this World Cup with 14 strikes from seven league games. The 22-year-old left-arm spinner applied the squeeze in the middle overs, her high point of release and ability to vary pace at will too good for Bangladesh to get a hold on.
Dean, who replaced Emma Lamb in the XI, removed No. 3 Fargana Hoque and then chipped away at the lower order. Freya Davies, the World Cup debutant, slotted in in place of Anya Shrubsole, who was rested, struck twice and sealed the win with Moni’s wicket.
The report was updated following South Africa’s win over India.
Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ghosh_annesha