After that, however, on a dry pitch in Mirpur that had plenty of spin and uneven bounce, Kaur trusted her spinners to smother Bangladesh’s middle order in the middle overs. There were 28 dot strikes between the ninth and 16th overs, a period in which Bangladesh scored just 29 runs and missed three wickets.
Achieving a triple-digit score would have been difficult if not for the late output of Shorna Akter, whose 28 balls, including two huge sixes, leveled the late collapse and gave Bangladesh a fighting chance.
Bangladesh got a glimmer of hope after a dreamy start to the second inning when Marufa Akter’s in-swinging first pitch went through Shafali Verma’s defense and caught her foot. A few overs later, Jemima Rodriguez struck out the stump, getting a thick inside edge, and India remained 21-2 after four overs.
But Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet’s experience paid off, and the duo scored 70 points in the winning match, keeping the rotation hitting and the flow of boundaries. Mandhana was the first aggressor, but pulled out after Rabeya Khan knocked her down. Harmanpreet, taking advantage of her good fortune after Sultana Khatun quit the sitter when she was 27, went on to lead India forward.
It was not a show of strength on the part of the Indian skipper. Most of her innings depended on timing and pitch manipulation, using poor bowling and questionable fielding decisions. A perfect example of these abilities is her repeated use of a sweep shot against the backhand early in the inning, which forced Bangladesh to constantly cover the thin leg area.
A look at challenging assignments
The Bangladesh tour is India’s first international assignment since her semifinal exit from the T20 World Cup in February. And they don’t have much time to sort out the problems on their team as they face several tough assignments at home.
According to the ICC Future Tour Program (FTP), South Africa, New Zealand, England and Australia will tour India before next January. In between will be a road trip to the Asian Games.
India will play one test each against England and Australia, but the focus will be on white-ball formats, where they are still struggling for balance. For this reason, presumably India has completely eliminated some experienced players from the Bangladesh tour to try new combinations.
Beachkeeper Richa Ghosh floortaught rest, and Yastika Bhatia is now wearing gloves, as she did in the WPL for the Mumbai Indians. With a rich roster but devoid of many finishers, India is likely to use Yastika as a steady mid-tier player. On Sunday, she came out in the middle at No. 5 early in the chase.
Bowling is the more difficult department. Fast bowlers Renuka Singh (injured) and Shikha Pandey and spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad have been given rest for this series as India look to attract youngsters, especially spinners, to their bowling attack. Minnu Mani and Anusha Bareddi made their debuts on Sunday.
India have not been helped by favorable conditions in Mirpur, but it is possible that they are expecting strong…milar conditions during their upcoming stint at home. Harmanpreet played only six overs of pace on Sunday, and Verma’s incomplete spinner was scheduled for three overs.
Mani, Kerala’s first female cricketer to represent India, impressed by scoring in the opening game, but the next five games could see more changes to the lineup.