Harmanpreet Kaur was in the news for all the wrong reasons as a nail-biting thriller ended without a winner as the third and final ODI between India Women and Bangladesh Women was tied on Saturday, July 22.
Nigar Sultana Joty, the Bangladesh skipper, won the toss and decided to bat first in at the Shere Bangla Stadium, with the series tied 1-1. She cited India's shakiness while chasing last time around as one of the reasons behind her decision, and their brittle batting order. Her decision was vindicated by the end.
For the visitors, Amanjot Kaur and Meghna Singh bowled in tandem for the first six overs. They bowled tempting lines and lengths but were not consistent enough. Fargana Hoque and Shamima Sultan, both were beaten multiple times.
Bangladesh played out the first 10 overs without losing a single wicket. Halfway through the innings, the hosts still had all ten wickets intact, meaning that a big score was definitely on the cards.
Sultan got to a well-deserved fifty but was dismissed two deliveries later off Sneh Rana's bowling. The delivery was flighted and slow, inviting a shot from the batter. The batter took the bait and was caught at mid-off trying to go big.
Rana got another breakthrough for India when she broke the 71-run partnership between Nigar Sultana and Fargana. She tossed it up wide outside off stump once again and the batter was dismissed trying to sweep it from the fifth or sixth stump line. One brought two for India that time as Ritu Moni was also dismissed in the very next over.
However, Fargana stood tall. The opener got to an exceptionally well-constructed ton with a beautiful cover drive. She made history as she became the first woman ever from Bangladesh to score an international century. Although she was dismissed on the last ball of the innings, courtesy of a Shafali Verma direct hit, she stayed at the crease for all 50 overs of the Bangladesh innings.
Sobhana Mostary's 22-ball 23 and Fargana's acceleration towards the end guided Bangladesh to a total of 225, which is their highest score in ODIs against India. A target of 226 may not seem as huge, but the pitch was certainly assisting spinners. Deepti Sharma generated good turn, while three out of four wickets were taken by spinners. The Indian spinners combined conceded 164 runs in 38 overs at an economy rate of 4.32, while the pacers went wicketless and gave away runs at an economy of more than 5 per over.
India, chasing 226, lost their first wicket in just the second over. Marufa Akter took an exceptional catch on the second attempt off her own bowling to get rid of Shafali, who once again failed to get going. Despite not holding on to it the first time, she put in an excellent dive to complete the catch on the second try.
Having lost two early wickets, with Yastika Bhatia departing soon after, India were in a spot of bother but a crucial stand between Harleen Deol and Smriti Mandhana brought them back. Harleen came out with intent, scoring two boundaries off the first six deliveries that she faced. The pair kept the scoreboard ticking. Mandhana got on top of anything short that was playable and pulled well throughout. She got to a half-century despite struggling a bit lately against off-spin. After 28 overs, India were in the driver's seat needing 89 to win with eight wickets in hand.
Bangladesh were in desperate need of a wicket, and they got one in the 29th over when Mandhana was caught at point. The opener had laid the platform for the batters to follow with her knock of 59 runs.
Harmanpreet Kaur kicks the stumps in anger at a wrong decision
Harmanpreet Kaur, the Indian skipper, raced to 14 runs in no time. Just when India seemed to have gotten on track, with 66 runs required in more than 16 overs, Nahida Akter struck. Harmanpreet was given out LBW and the umpire's decision was not received well by her. It was an attempted sweep from the Indian captain. She missed the shot but thought it hit the glove or bat first before going onto the pad. With no DRS facilities available in this series, Harmanpreet smashed the stumps with her bat and walked off the pitch, but not before saying a few words to the umpire.
An angle of Harmanpreet Kaur hitting the stumps with her bat in absolute disgust!— Farid Khan (@_FaridKhan) July 22, 2023
Whatever the decision is, how is this acceptable on cricket field? What message is this giving to young boys and girls watching this sport? Deserves a ban. Ridiculous!pic.twitter.com/YoRXpJ3Nx5
By the end, India needed just 9 runs with four wickets in hand, but what followed was an extraordinary collapse. The game ended in a tie after India lost their last six wickets for 34 runs and their last four wickets for 9 runs. This was the series decider, and the series was drawn after the third ODI ended without either side emerging victorious. A super-over was not held because the scheduled time for the game had been exceeded.
Harmanpreet was vocal about the umpiring standards in the post-match presentation, with her comments getting criticised.
According to some journalists on the field, during the presentation ceremony, Harmanpreet told Bangladesh captain Joty – “Why you are only here? You haven't tied the match. The umpires did it for you. Call them up! We better have photo with them as well.” pic.twitter.com/htizeGWL3R— Saif Ahmed 🇧🇩 (@saifahmed75) July 22, 2023
“Even apart from the cricket, the kind of umpiring that was happening, we were very surprised. The next time when we come to Bangladesh, we will make sure we have to deal with this type of umpiring and prepare ourselves accordingly. Some pathetic umpiring was done and we are really disappointed about some decisions given by the umpired,” Harmanpreet Kaur said.