Australia legspinner Georgia Wareham made the most of her first international match in more than a year, taking 3-20 as the defending champions eased to victory over Bangladesh by eight wickets at the Women’s T20 World Cup on Tuesday.
Australia joined Sri Lanka with two wins from two in Group 1 and went back to the top on net run rate.
Wareham, whose last international was in October 2021, was pivotal as Australia limited Bangladesh to 107-7, where only captain Nigar Sultana’s 57 from 50 balls stood out.
The Aussies were untroubled in their chase, cruising to 111-2 in 18.2 overs and led home by captain Meg Lanning, who barely got out of second gear in her 48 not out.
Opener Alyssa Healy hit 37 from 36 at the top to put the world’s top-ranked team on the way to another impressive win. Australia beat New Zealand by a whopping 97 runs in the first game of its title defense.
Australia is the dominant force in women’s cricket and has won five of the seven T20 World Cups and is seeking a third straight title.
Wareham had a long road back to international cricket after rupturing a ligament in her left knee more than a year ago.
On her comeback, the 23-year-old spinner picked up the wickets of Sobhana Mostary (7), Shorna Akter (12) and Rumana Ahmed (4) in Bangladesh’s middle order as Australia took control and never relinquished it in the first game of the World Cup in Gqeberha, the city formerly known as Port Elizabeth.
“It’s pretty special any time to play for your country,” Wareham said. “To do that at the World Cup and get a few wickets, it’s pretty cool.”
India is back in action Wednesday against West Indies and could join England with two wins from two in Group 2.
India is also expected to be boosted by the return of star batter Smriti Mandhana, who is set to come back into the team after missing the opening win over Pakistan with a finger injury.
Mandhana is likely to be in good spirits after she was the most expensive player to be bought at the Women’s Premier League auction in India on Monday.
The top two teams from each of the two preliminary groups advance straight to the semifinals of the T20 World Cup. The teams currently in position to progress are Australia, Sri Lanka, England and India.