What happens when a dainty-built ant stares a fly in the eye? Both can move, but only one can fly. Still, can it be that the ant manages to clip the wings of the fly?
A David versus Goliath style outcome
Against this narrative, Bangladesh truly pulled out an ace when they curtailed a high-flying India team’s journey in the Asia Cup, Harmanpreet’s side hitherto enjoying a fancy run in the contest having registered two consecutive wins by a big margin.
But by beating Harmanpreet’s side in a comprehensive contest that surprised onlookers, Bangladesh, who previously beat Pakistan in the series have established themselves as creators of major upsets.
Has India been failing to put together formidable scores?
There’s something interesting and peculiar when biggies are upstaged in a contest. Particularly when it comes to cricket, few teams boast of an authority that the Harmanpreet Kaur-led side enjoys in the game. So when India succumbed to a big 7-wicket loss to Bangladesh, there were, expectedly, a few questions that arose.
For starters, despite having won two immensely important wins, one apiece against Malaysia and Thailand, India always seemed unable to post really imposing totals, a strong spine against which T20 contests are won.
Prior to playing Bangladesh, India, who rode high on individual brilliance, beginning with Mithali Raj’s unbeaten 97, followed by capricious cameos by Harmanpreet and Smriti in the next game, did look the part of a side that didn’t collect too many runs on the board.
And that’s exactly what turned out as batting first in Malaysia, Harmanpreet’s side scored only 141 on the board.
How Bangladesh rolled over India
Requiring 142, a score that could’ve easily been competitive, Bangladesh didn’t take too many chances and produced a stellar batting performance in chasing down the target with 2 balls to spare. Important batting performances came from experienced keeper-batswoman Shamima Sultana- 33- and resourceful, no.3 Fargana Hoque- 52*- from just 46 balls. Playing an able supporting hand was Rumana Ahmed, arguably the best all-rounder in Bangladesh side, scoring 42 off just 34.
While Jhulan Goswami, playing her first T20 in the series was expensive, the spinners had a regular day at the office, 2 of the 3 Bangladeshi wickets falling to Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Poonam Yadav- one wicket apiece.
Mediocre batting effort by India
Earlier, Indian batswomen had a lacklustre day at work, with the experienced legend, Mithali Raj contributing only 15 and Mandhana collecting only 2. Had it not been for some quickfire strokes all around the park by an in-form Harmanpreet- 42 off 37, including 6 boundaries- reaching 141 may not have been possible. That said, Deepti Sharma’s contribution- 32 off 28- was handy.
Bangladesh’s hero of the day
But none of what India did was ever enough to keep the Bangladeshi bowlers in check, Rumana Ahmed’s leg breaks proving too much of a challenge for India to counter.
In scalping 3 wickets at just 21 runs from 4 overs, Bangladesh’s trump card in a big India win cut no corners and beat the bat too often for Indian batswomen’s comfort.
The loss to a fellow sub-continental cricketing force may just have come in time for India to prepare well for the contests ahead. That said, it remains to be seen what difference can the famous top order produce with the spinners continuing to be the side’s mainstay.