Deepti Sharma, Shafali Verma help India win low-scoring thriller

Deepti Sharma and Shafali Verma took three-wicket apiece to help India defend a small target and seal the T20I series against Bangladesh in Mirpur

Shajin Mohanan S
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Deepti Sharma, India

Deepti Sharma with the player of the match award © BCB

India beat Bangladesh in a low-scoring thriller at the Sher-E-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur to seal the T20I series with one match to spare on Tuesday (July 11). Both teams struggled in a visibly slow used surface to put on middling batting performances and in the end, India’s experience came through with them using 19 overs of spin. 

Opting to bat first, India started well with Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana adding 33 runs for the opening wicket in 4.2 overs. Shafali, in particular, was her aggressive self and hit four boundaries in her knock of 19 off 14 deliveries. 

However, once Mandhana was dismissed while going for a slog sweep, India struggled to get the scorecard moving as they lost three wickets without adding a run. Shafali tried to loft Sultana Khatun only to sky one to Sobana Mostary at mid-off – the fielder jammed her head on the ground and had to be replaced by a concussion substitute later – and Harmanpreet Kaur was bamboozled by a ball that turned and bounced. 

With Harmanpreet – player of the match  from the last game – getting out for a duck, India’s scoring came to a complete stall as batters struggled even to rotate the strike. Soon India found themselves at 61 for 6 in the 15th over. A couple of boundaries from Amanjot Kaur and a boundary each from Deepti Sharma, Pooja Vastrakar and Minnu Mani helped India to 95 for 8 at the end of the 20 overs.

For Bangladesh, Sultana picked up three wickets giving away just 21 runs and leg spinners Fahima Khatun and Rabeya Khan had a combined figure of 3 for 32 from their eight overs. 

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Chasing 96 to level the series, Bangladesh started with a couple of boundaries in the opening over bowled by Vastrakar. Harmanpreet immediately decided to take the pace off the ball and brought in Minnu Mani from the other end. That move reaped rewards when the off spinner from Kerala dismissed Shamima Sultana for five.

Shathi Rani also walked back in the next over with Harmanpreet taking an excellent catch in slips off Deepti. Concussion substitute Murshida Khatun found it difficult to get going and became the maiden wicket of Anusha Bareddy in the seventh over after scoring only four from 15 balls.

Once Ritu Moni fell, Bangladesh were reeling at 30 for 4 in the eight over and they needed someone to stay with the captain Nigar Sultana Joty. Although they added 34 runs for the fifth wicket, it took some time coming and Deepti dismissed Shorna with a terrific return catch.

At this stage, Bangladesh needed 32 off 34 balls and it eventually came down to 21 off last three. With Joty getting out in the penultimate over to a frugal Deepti, the hosts needed the lower order to hit a couple of big shots in the final over with 10 needed to win.

With all the other spinners finishing their spell – including Jemimah Rodrigues, who bowled a spell of 4-0-18-0, Harmanpreet decided to trust Shafali for the final over and the young part-time off spinner delivered. She kept it stump to stump after a loose first delivery.

Bangladesh lost Rabeya to a run out in the first ball and then Shafali picked up three more wickets to bowl the home side out for 87 giving India a narrow 8-run win.

Deepti walked away with the player of the match award for her miserly spell of 3 for 12 from her four overs.

Brief Scores: India 95/8 in 20 overs (Shafali Verma 19; Sultana Khatun 3/19, Fahima Khatun 2/16) beat Bangladesh 87/10 in 20 overs (Nigar Sultana Joty 38; Deepti Sharma 3/12, Shafali Verma 3/15) by 8 runs POTM: Deepti Sharma