9 July 2023, Mumbai: The Indian women’s cricket team kicked off the new international season with a dominant performance, securing a seven-wicket victory over Bangladesh in the opening T20 International. Captain Harmanpreet Kaur played a stellar role, smashing an unbeaten half-century to guide her team to an emphatic win.
Choosing to bowl first, the Indian spinners made excellent use of the conditions, restricting Bangladesh to a modest total of 114 for 5. The Indian chase was spearheaded by Harmanpreet, who scored a blistering 54 not out off just 35 balls. Alongside her, vice-captain Smriti Mandhana contributed a crucial 38 runs off 34 balls, as the duo built a strong partnership of 70 runs for the third wicket, comfortably reaching the target in just 16.2 overs.
Harmanpreet’s innings was marked by six boundaries and two sixes, and she made the most of the two opportunities given to her by left-arm spinner Nahida Akter. Mandhana played a key role in setting the pace for India, displaying her exquisite stroke play with five boundaries, including a powerful square cut and a lofted cover-drive.
The Indian bowlers set the stage for the batsmen with a disciplined performance. Led by the experienced Deepti Sharma, along with debutants Anusha Bareddy and Minnu Manni, the spin attack executed Harmanpreet’s plan of bowling on one side of the wicket to perfection. Leg-spinner Shafali Verma also made an impact, although she conceded a six to top-scorer Sorna Akhtar. The Indian bowlers’ strategy of packing the off-side field with five fielders and maintaining a tight line made it challenging for the Bangladeshi batters to find gaps.
Debutant Manni claimed her first international wicket by dismissing Shamima Sultana, while Pooja Vastrakar accounted for Shathi Rani with an excellent delivery. Nigar Sultana was run-out, and Shafali Verma took a wicket with a well-flighted delivery to remove Shobhana Mostary. Bangladesh struggled to find momentum throughout their innings, facing 62 dot balls and managing only eight fours and three sixes.
In the Indian chase, Shafali Verma fell early due to her lack of footwork, being dismissed leg-before-wicket. Jemimah Rodrigues was unfortunate to be played on while attempting a cut shot. However, once Harmanpreet and Mandhana joined forces, the result seemed almost inevitable. Their partnership ensured a smooth victory for the Indian team, reaffirming their dominance in the match.