Indian women clinch T20I series after Bangladesh choke in low-scoring thriller
The hosts had grounded a star-studded India to a below-par 95 for 8, their lowest-ever total against Bangladesh.
MIRPUR: Spinners Deepti Sharma and Shafali Verma held their nerves during death overs as India pulled off a nail-biting eight-run victory over Bangladesh to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match T20I series, here on Tuesday.
Off-spinner Sultana Khatun claimed a career-best 3/21 as the hosts grounded a star-studded India to a below-par 95 for 8, their lowest-ever total against Bangladesh in the women's T20I.
However Bangladesh stumbled to 87 all-out in 20 overs as India took a series-clinching lead with an inconsequential third match set to be played on Thursday From a comfortable 86 for 5, Bangladesh lost their last five wickets for just one run in a space of eight deliveries in what seemed to be an inexplicable batting collapse.
The two young Indian spinners, offie Minnu Mani (4-1-9-2) and left-arm orthodox Anusha Bareddy (1/20 in 4 overs), made early inroads before the seasoned duo of Deepti (3/12) and Shafali (3/15) pulled off a heist with controlled bowling in the 19th and 20th over.
Shafali in fact got all her wickets in the final over in which she gave away only solitary run when 10 were needed with four wickets intact.
Bangladesh's chase was steered by skipper Nigar Sultana (38; 55b) -- the only batter of their side to reach double-digits.
But the skipper failed to finish it off and was brilliantly stumped by Yastika Bhatia in the penultimate over bowled by Deepti that triggered the collapse.
"Bowlers did well to restrict India. I should have ended the game. I think we didn't get the start we wanted. Looking forward to the last game," the home team skipper said after the game.
However credit should be given to skipper Harmanpreet as she has shown a lot of faith in giving full quota of overs to both Minnu and Anusha, who were equal to the task.
"In this series we have a couple of young bowlers who are going to take responsibility and bowl for us. It's important for us to trust them. We are not going to hide them in the field," Harmanpreet said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Minnu, the first woman senior India cricketer from Kerala, got Shamima Sultana (5) who swept but only to get a top-ege to be picked by Shafali.
Spin from both ends yielded result as Deepti gave another breakthrough in Shathi Rani (5) with Harmanpreet taking fantastic one-handed catch at the first slip.
But the Bangladesh skipper held fort with some support from Shorna Akter (7 off 17 balls).
The duo added vital 34 runs in the middle as one saw a few drooping shoulders in the Indian ranks.
It was then Deepti turned it around when she induced a leading edge off Shorna to break the partnership, and there was no looking for India from there onwards.
Eyeing an unassailable 2-0 lead, India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur opted to bat as they were off to a flyer with Smriti Mandhana (13; 13b) and Shafali (19; 14b) adding 33 in 26 balls before visitors lost half of their side for 58 runs just after the 14th over started.
Sultana took the two key wickets of Shafali and Harmanpreet off successive deliveries as Bangladesh fought back after an early assault from the Indian openers.
Left-arm spinner Nahida Akter (1/14) triggered the collapse taking the prized-scalp of Mandhana after she missed a slog sweep and got bowled in the process.
Sultana then cast her magic in the next over as Shafali charged down the track but only to be holed out at mid-off.
Harmanpreet was foxed by a superb full length delivery that had some extra bounce and turn to shatter her off-stump.
Jemimah played at snail's pace in a 21-ball eight before being dismissed by Rabeya Khan when she tried to break free but only to miss it completely to be stumped.
Brought in place of off-spinner Salma Khatun, leg-break bowler Fahima Khatun returned with 2/16, with key wickets of Yastika Bhatia (11) and Deepti Sharma (10) as India failed to get going.