2nd T20I: Shafali looks to get big score as Indian women aim to seal series vs Bangladesh

Mirpur, Jul 10 (PTI) The supremely talented Shafali Verma would like to make an impact with the willow after a poor start in the lung opener as Indian women aim to clinch the three-match T20 International series against Bangladesh with another dominant performance in the second game here on Tuesday.

India coasted to an easy seven-wicket victory in the opening match on Sunday with skipper Harmanpreet Kaur blazing her way to an unbeaten 35-ball 54 and Smriti Mandhana looking equally dangerous during her short but significant knock of 38.

The slow bowlers were also on target as the two debutants Anusha Bareddy and Minnu Mani gave a good account of themselves under senior off-spinner Deepti Sharma.

However, what stuck out like a sore thumb was Shafali’s three-ball duck and once again the distinct lack of footwork was evident against medium pacer Marufa Akter.

The young Haryana woman is one of the biggest batting talents in the country and has already played 57 T20I games even before completing her 20th birthday.

While she could be breathtaking when on song, her consistency has been an issue with only one score of 50-plus in the last 10 games in the shortest version.

Her last half-century in T20Is came last year against Australian women during a home series and since then had a quiet World Cup in South Africa.

There are still a few technical issues which one expects chief coach Amol Muzumdar would address in the coming days.

Bangladesh are such opponents which will give Shafali a good chance to regain some form and notch up a big score at the top of the order.

Harmanpreet’s unit has shown the gulf in cricketing standards between the two teams and it will be a huge upset if Bangladesh win on Tuesday and restore parity in the series.

The difference in quality between the two teams was there to be seen when Bangladesh batted, as the only batter to at least score at run-a-ball strike-rate was Shorna Akter, who struck two sixes in her 28-ball-28 that took the home team past 100-run mark.

What has worked to India’s advantage is the fact that all of Bangladesh’s top seven batters are right-handers and that has allowed the Indian skipper to stick to one particular line on a Sher-e-Bangla track where the ball at times stops before coming onto the bat.

Harmanpreet’s clever ploy of loading the off-side cordon with five fielders worked wonderfully well as the Bangladeshi batters were often seen trying to fetch the deliveries pitched on the imaginary fourth or fifth off-stump and hit them through the vacant on-side.

But Deepti, Anusha and Minu did maintain a tight line, which didn’t allow them to manoeuvre much.

It was a good toss to win for Harmanpreet during the opening game and if the spin of coin goes in her favour once again, she might see how well the batting unit performs while trying to set a target.

This will also give Shafali a chance to express herself freely in Mandhana and Harmanpreet’s company and give the glimpse of a player that everyone wants to pay to watch.

The Teams (From): India: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana, Deepti Sharma, Shefali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Yastika Bhatia (wk), Harleen Deol, Devika Vaidya, Uma Chhetri (wk), Amanjot Kaur, S Meghna, Pooja Vastrakar, Meghna Singh, Anjali Sarwani , Monika Patel, Rashi Kanojia, Anusha Bareddi, Minnu Mani.

Bangladesh: Nigar Sultana (c/w), Shamima Sultana, Murshida Khatun, Sobhana Mostary, Shorna Akter, Ritu Moni, Nahida Akter, Fahima Khatun, Rabeya Khan, Shanjida Akter, Salma Khatun, Marufa Akter, Dilara Akter, Disha Biswas, Sultana Khatun, Shathi Rani.

Match Starts: 1:30 pm IST.

Source: PTI News


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