India lost their last four wickets for just nine runs as the series decider ended in a tie after the Bangladesh bowlers staged a late comeback in the third ODI at the Sher-E-Bangla Stadium in Mirpur on Saturday (July 22). Fargana Hoque entered the history books after slamming her maiden ODI century and becoming the first-ever woman to score an ODI century for Bangladesh. Smriti Mandhana’s fifty and Harleen Deol’s career-best 77 could not take the visitors home as the lower order saw a collapse.
The rain-interrupted match did not go into the super over to force a result due to the scheduled time for the match being over, and as a result, the third ODI and the ODI series ended in a draw.
Both sides saw changes to their opening duos. Third T20I’s mainstay Shamima Sultana came into the squad along with Shobana Mostary replacing Sharmin AKter and Murshida Khatun. Shafali Verma replaced the misfiring Priya Punia in the Indian squad
Asked to chase 226, Smriti Mandhana was dropped at one by Nigar Sultana after the opener got a thick outside edge off Marufa Akter’s length ball. However, Marufa did not have to wait long for her first wicket as she took Verma’s catch off her own ball on the second attempt. Verma’s return to the starting line-up did not last long.
Walking in at number three, Yastika Bhatia could not contribute much to the scoreboard either. Sultana Khatun trapped Bhatia after she attempted to clip the ball but missed it and the umpire’s finger went up straight away for lbw. A frustrated Bhatia stared at the umpire before treading towards the dressing room.
Harleen Deol, who was promoted up the order, took on the Marufa challenge. Hitting two boundaries off the pacer’s third over. Mandhana and Harleen took the reigns of the innings. Mandhana was already making Nigar pay for the dropped catch, hitting boundaries off almost every over and swiftly rotating the strike. India were 59/2 after the end of the powerplay, even after losing early wickets.
The spinners, who were getting help from the surface were surprising the Indian batters with turn and bounce, bringing India’s run-a-ball run rate down. The boundaries dried up, but the singles didn’t. The duo kept rotating the strike through the middle overs with the target in sight. Mandhana reached her 26th ODI half-century off 74 balls. Soon, Deol brought up her second ODI fifty and the 100-run partnership for the third wicket.
Nigar changed the attack bringing in Marufa from one end while Fahima Khatun continued from the other. This time, Mandhana was dropped again by Fahima after the opener smacked a full toss straight; Fahima’s attempt to claim the tough chance was unsuccessful. But the third time was the charm for the hosts as Mandhana, deceived by the extra bounce, was caught by Mostary two balls later.
Captain Harmanpreet Kaur, who suffered a blow to her left hand in the second match, walked in to partner Deol. India kept adding runs at a moderate run rate before Harmanpreet tried to play a sweep but Nahida Akter beat her. The ball seemed to hit her pads and then fly over Fahima’s hands at slip. With confusion around the dismissal, Harmanpreet was eventually declared caught out. A furious Harmanpreet hit the stumps with her bat, exchanged words with the umpire, and gestured towards the spectators while walking into the dressing room.
Deol partnered with the last match’s protagonist Jemimah Rodrigues, kept the Indian scoreboard ticking until a sunny day in Mirpur was interrupted by a passing shower. The match resumed shortly with no overs lost.
Soon after the rain break, it was time for a breakthrough for Bangladesh. Nigar made up for her mistake by inflicting a run out on Deol with some outstanding fielding. Deol departed after scoring her career-best 77.
Deol’s wicket opened the floodgates. Mostary’s direct hit sen Deepti Sharma packing for cheap. Rodrigues and Amanjot Kaur played cautiously, stacking up ones and twos. When it seemed they had struck the match-winning partnership, Khan trapped Amanjot for a plumb lbw.
Sneh Rana and Devika Vaidya departed without even opening their account courtesy of two caught and bowled dismissals by Nahida. India were suddenly nine down with nine required from two overs.
Rodrigues hit the ball towards the square leg but refused to take the single. However, after missing a slog sweep, Rodrigues was bound to take the single off the next ball and put Meghna Singh on strike. Singh swept Sultana for a boundary and then took a single off the last ball of the penultimate over, leaving 3 runs for the final over.
Marufa, who was off the field after hurting her leg, came back on for the ultimate over of the series. Singh and Rodrigues took one single a piece in the first two balls. With the scores tied, Singh attempted a cut off Marufa’s length ball outside off but she edged it and Nigar claimed an easy catch. An unbeaten Rodrigues was stranded alone at the non-striker’s end while an elated Bangladesh unit celebrated.
Earlier, opting to bat first, Bangladesh’s new-look opening pair Shamima and Fargana Hoque started cautiously with pacers Amanjot and Singh maintaining their line around the fifth stump. At the end of the powerplay, Bangladesh were 32 without loss, with just two boundaries coming off the same Amanjot over.
Shamima carried her form from the final T20I game scoring a 76-ball fifty. But Rana soon got the breakthrough after Shamima miscued her shot, leading to a dolly for Harmanpreet, ending Bangladesh’s second-best opening stand.
Hoque, who played the second fiddle in the 93-run opening partnership started shifting gears with skipper Nigar. The duo kept rotating the strike and picked up occasional boundaries against the Indian spinners in the middle overs.
Spin was the answer yet again for India as Rana struck again, dismissing Nigar, who mistimed her shot and was caught by Amanjot. Ritu Moni looking to accelerate followed Nigar’s suit and was caught at mid-off by Harmanpreet off Vaidya.
A set Hoque started finding the gaps and sent Singh for a couple of boundaries before making history and scoring her and Bangladesh's first-ever ODI century with an exquisite cover drive. Hoque’s historic ton propelled Bangladesh to their second-highest total in ODIs.
Brief Scores: Bangladesh 225/4 (Fargana Hoque 107, Shamima Sultana 52; Sneh Rana 2/45) tied India 225/10 (Harleen Deol 77, Smriti Mandhana 59; Nahida Akter 3/37) POTM: Harleen Deol POTS: Fargana Hoque