Bangladesh captain calls conditions, especially when lined up, ‘not good’ or ‘playable’
A rain delay of more than four hours reduced the game to 27 overs per team, and the drizzle returned in the second set, when Bangladesh fielded a 140 defense.
“First of all, I would like to say [that] it’s not a good playable condition, because there was a lot of rain there, but we still played there,” she said in the post-match press conference. “Sometimes the bowlers couldn’t grab the ball, and the limit outfielders couldn’t look at the ball very well. And I was a little worried about the safety of my outfield players, because we still have five games to play. So it was very difficult for us to play in this kind of condition.
Heavy weather started to roll in as New Zealand’s pursuit continued. After 13 overs, they were 73 to 1, when a drinks break was scheduled. Bangladesh were on their way to the dugout when the referees dismissed refreshments and demanded play continue. New Zealand took just seven more overs to score the remaining 68 runs.
Although Bangladesh accepted on-court instructions to play, Sultana spoke to the referees again after 15 overs, with light rain falling, but play continued. Afterwards, she indicated that they had wanted the game to be stopped but could not convince the officials.
“When we were on the pitch, we asked the referees if we were going to continue the game under these conditions, and they kept saying that we had to continue. On the pitch, I couldn’t do anything anymore. But we are worried, so off the field we can do what we can, talk to who we can, and see how we can minimize the risk. We will let the match referee know that the conditions were such that… what you had to do to make it better next time.”
“You see, we only bring a few players to the World Cups, so it becomes difficult for us if someone suddenly gets injured. We are from Bangladesh, which is far away, so to get a new player from us, do – leave her for ten days of quarantine and bring her to the field… the tournament will be over by then”
With five matches remaining for them in the tournament, Sultana feared that if any of their players suffered an injury it would leave Bangladesh short of resources and unable to strengthen them.
“You see, we only bring a few players to the World Cups, so it becomes difficult for us if someone suddenly gets injured. We come from Bangladesh, which is far away, so to get a new player from home, put her through ten days of quarantine and bring her to the field…then the tournament will be over.
“The safety and security of the players is of the utmost importance, because we also have to think about the future. We have more matches after the World Cup, where we need these players.”
She asked officials to consider the welfare of players going forward, especially if the wet weather persists. “We can only play the remaining matches if my players are safe. The safety of the people I’m going to fight with is the most important thing for me,” she said.
Sultana dismissed any suggestion that she would make excuses for Bangladesh’s performance and pointed to the relatively drier conditions New Zealand found themselves in.
“If you think that’s an excuse, then no. When it was the first run, there was rain too, but it wasn’t [the same]”, she said. “During the first races, the rain was not so heavy, the conditions were much better, at least when we hit. When we bowled and on the court, the rain was much heavier.”
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s correspondent in South Africa