Spin star set to erase World Cup heartache

Bangladesh v Australia - Women's ODI Series: Game 2
Player of the match Sophie Molineux. Picture: Abhishek Chinnappa/Getty Images

Sophie Molineux’s dream international return couldn’t be any more timely with a T20 World Cup spot a growing certainty as Australia’s spinners dominate on the Bangladesh wickets they will be confronted with in their quest for a fourth-straight title.

A week after her matchwinning triple-wicket maiden turned the WPL final on its head in India, Molineux was again the deciding factor in the second ODI, taking 3-10 off a miserly 10 overs in a second-straight Aussie rout in Dhaka.

The home side has been rolled for 97 and 95 in the two games against the world champs in conditions that have proved unfavourable for batting and provided a steep learning curve ahead of the World Cup in Bangladesh in September.

Nine of the 10 wickets in game two fell to spin, with left-armer Molineux backed up by leggies Alana King (2-15) and Georgia Wareham (2-30) and off-spinner Ashleigh Gardner (2-22).

Australia lost four wickets in reaching the target in the 23rd over, Ellyse Perry unbeaten on 35.

The Australians went with a four-spin attack, leaving seamer Kim Garth out, in a signal of what’s to come in the World Cup.

For Molineux, playing her first ODI since October 2021, it was a dream return to the 50-over game, having spent close to two years battling injuries as Australia won both ODI and T20 World Cups.

“It was a long two years I suppose,” Molineux admitted.

“It’s just nice to be back to be honest … getting back into it, I’m just happy to be playing cricket and happy to be playing in any colours at the moment – and even better to play for Australia again.

Bangladesh v Australia - Women's ODI Series: Game 2
Sophie Molineux took three wickets. Picture: Abhishek Chinnappa/Getty Images

Sophie Molineux took three wickets. Picture: Abhishek Chinnappa/Getty Images

“I’ve got a lot of really close mates here and I can say that this group of players are really building something special, so to be part of it, and contributing, it’s pretty cool.”

Molineux said her successful run with Royal Challengers Bangalore in India provided the intensity lift she needed ahead of her Australian return.

“It’s definitely helped. I think just getting some match experience in as well,” she said.

“That’s one thing you sort of miss out on when you don’t play for a while, trying to keep up and catch up with the game, so I think going over there (to India) probably helped me to have a few more matches under my belt with some intensity as well.

“We knew it was going to be a challenge coming over here as the back-end of our season at home.

“With the different conditions and the Bangladesh girls going from strength to strength, it’s a great opportunity for us to be over here. We knew it was going to be a tricky series and that we still have a lot to work on and to grow as team.”

The third ODI will be played at Sher-E-Bangla National Cricket Stadium on Wednesday before three more T20s.