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ESPNcricinfo Awards

ESPNcricinfo Awards 2023 Women's ODI bowling winner: Marufa four, Bangladesh won

A maiden four-wicket haul for the fast bowler set up the side's first ever victory over India in ODIs

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
Marufa went wicketless in her first ODI series in New Zealand at the start of 2023, but there was very little doubt within the team about her ability. All she needed was wickets, and Marufa got the first of them when she removed Smriti Mandhana in the third over of India's chase.
That brought Bangladesh into the game early, after they posted a modest 152 batting first. They had never beaten India - they had done well in the T20I series, but this was not looking like a big enough total against the higher-ranked side.
Marufa got the ball to nip away slightly from Mandhana, who played the cut shot nevertheless, guiding the ball to a diving Nigar Sultana, who completed a great catch behind the stumps. A few overs later Mandhana's opening partner Priya Punia too fell against Marufa, to a good catch at mid-on, when she tried to hit through that region; Murshida Khatun dove forward to grab the catch, inches from the grass.
After India lost three more wickets, they were 61 for 5 in the 17th over, but recovered somewhat, adding 30 runs over 12 overs. At that point, Nigar turned back to Marufa, who removed Amanjot Kaur with a full delivery, although the batter wasn't happy with the contentious caught-behind decision. The next ball, though, there was no doubt: Marufa yorked Sneh Rana and sent her leg stump cartwheeling. The crowd at the Shere Bangla National Stadium erupted as Bangladesh closed in on a famous victory. In the space of seven overs India had gone from 91 for 5 to 113 all out, Bangladesh winning by 40 runs.

Key moment

Defending 152 runs, Bangladesh couldn't afford to give India a good start. Marufa ensured that they got the early wicket when she had the dangerous Mandhana caught behind for 11. Wicketkeeper Nigar took a stunning catch, a real turning point in the game.

The numbers

0 Number of wins for Bangladesh women in ODIs against India women before this game
0 Number of ODI four-wicket hauls by a Bangladesh fast bowler in women's cricket before this game

What they said

"She is one of the top bowlers in the world right now. The [Indian] batters were handling the spinners very well, so we wanted to break the momentum. That's one of the reasons we wanted to bowl Marufa [later in the innings]."
- Hashan Tillakaratne, Bangladesh coach
"Marufa is very talented, young and fresh, she makes my job easier. She doesn't think too much and just bowls according to plans."
- Nigar Sultana, Bangladesh captain

The closest contender

Nadine de Klerk
4 for 32 vs Pakistan, second ODI, Karachi

De Klerk reduced Pakistan to 20 for 3 in her first two overs, getting Muneeba Ali and Sadaf Shamas caught off successive balls in the eighth over. The first ball of de Klerk's next over, a yorker, found its way through Sidra Ameen's defences to rattle the stumps; and she returned in the 44th over to send Umm-e-Hani back. It was de Klerk's maiden four-wicket haul in ODIs.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84