Batters, Radha and Asha star in India’s 21-run win over Bangladesh; clinch series 5-0

Batters, bowlers Radha and Asha star in India’s 21-run win over Bangladesh; clinch 5-0 their bilateral T20 series at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Thursday. Photo credit: BCCI Women /IANS

Sylhet, May 9 (IANS) Captain Harmanpreet Kaur, vice-captain Smriti Mandhana, and Dayalan Hemalatha made 30s respectively, while spinners Radha Yadav and Asha Sobhana picked five wickets between themselves as India beat Bangladesh by 21 runs in the fifth and final T20I to secure a 5-0 series victory.

Electing to bat first, India posted 156/5 in their 20 overs at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium, thanks to handy knocks by Smriti (33), Hemalatha (37), Harmanpreet (30) and an unbeaten 28 from Richa Ghosh. In reply, left-arm spinner Radha picked 3-24 while leg-spinner Asha took 2-25 and fast-bowler Titas Sadha scalped 1-27 as India restricted Bangladesh to 135/6, despite a late fightback from Ritu Moni (37) and Shorifa Khatun (28 not out).

After Shafali Verma, playing her 100th international match, fell early, Smriti and Hemalatha shared a 37-run partnership for the second wicket to keep India’s innings on track for a decent total. Smriti hit four boundaries and a six before she was dismissed in the eighth over by Sultana Khatun for 33 off 25 balls, with replays suggesting the ball may have hit her pad outside the off-stump, and no DRS meant she had to go back to the pavilion.

Hemalatha, who was dropped at eight, soon found her timing and shots to hit two fours and as many sixes in her 28-ball 37. Keeping the scoreboard ticking alongside Hemalatha was Harmanpreet hitting four boundaries in her 24-ball 30, as the duo shared a stand of 60 off 42 deliveries for the third wicket. India lost the duo and Sajeevan Sajana in a span of just seven balls as Bangladesh reduced them to 124/6 in 16 overs. Richa had other ideas as she slammed an unbeaten 28 off 17 balls, hitting three fours, to take India’s score past 150 for the first time in this series.

In defence of 156, Titas provided India with their first breakthrough by dismissing Sobhana Mostary in the third over. In the next over, Radha had Dilara Akter miscuing a pull to mid-off. She then castled captain Nigar Sultana and trapped Rubya Haider lbw for 20. Asha dismissing Shorna Akter meant Bangladesh were reduced to 52/5, needing 105 from its last 60 balls.

But Ritu and Shorifa staged a valiant fightback by sharing a 57-run partnership off 41 balls for the sixth wicket. But Asha castling Ritu in the 17th over ended Bangladesh’s hopes of an unlikely win to fall 21 runs short of the target and end their T20I home season without a win, despite India being sloppy in their fielding.

Radha was named Player of the Match and took the Player of the Series award for picking 10 wickets in five games at an economy rate of 5.05. India will be happy to sign off from Bangladesh with a commanding series win at a venue where it will be playing their Women’s T20 World Cup league stage matches in October.

Brief scores:

India 156/5 in 20 overs (Dayalan Hemalatha 37, Smriti Mandhana 33; Nahida Akter 2-27, Rabeya Khan 2-28) beat Bangladesh 135/6 in 20 overs (Ritu Moni 37, Radha Yadav 3-24, Asha Sobhana 2-25) by 21 runs

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