It was dream come true for Bangladesh and a befitting end of a fairy tale as Tigresses overcame all the hurdles to beat the fancied India by three wickets in a nerve wrecking final of the Women’s Asia Cup final to lift their maiden crown at Kinrara Academy Oval, Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
Six time champions in a row India were asked to bat first and they struggled all the way to put on a face saving 112 for nine wickets in their allotted 20 overs and in reply Bangladesh chasing their first ever run chase in the final faltered midway but managed to hold on against experienced Indian bowline up to reach home in the very last delivery of the match scoring 113 for seven wickets in 20 overs.
If cricket, especially women’s cricket, was looking for a fairy tale or an exhibition, this has to be it! A much-hyped team India with some of the world’s top players up against the perpetual underdogs Bangladesh, one never thought Tigresses for the second time in this tournament will beat the favourites Indian team.
As some of the commentators quite rightly even compared with a deja-vu to the 1983 Men’s World Cup, when it was India who pummeled the mighty West Indies in the league stages and in the final and today Bangladesh have done the same to India.
A match worthy of a final that that went down to the last ball-the last inch covered by the batsman as it was the fielder’s arm against the batsman’s dive to separate the sides! An extraordinary low-scoring chase and ultimately definitely it was the better side has certainly won.
Earlier asked to bat first India suffered a batting debacle which resulted in a flurry of loss of wickets in the initial stage, but a partnership between the skipper Harman Harpreet Kaur( 56) and V. Krishnamurthy (11) and later between Goswami (10) allowing them to cross three figure mark and something to defend.
Bangladesh batters started bravely but started losing their nerve at 35. Poonam Yadav put on a fine show of crafty and miserly leg-break to decimate the top-order. She was one of the main reasons this game got to the last over. Tigresses hung on grimly squandered home with Ayasha Rahman 17, Shamim Sultan 16, Nigar Sultana 27, Rumana Ahmed 23, Fahima 9, finally managed to take the game to the last over.
Harmanpreet Kaur came to ball last over and the game went down to wire as Jahanara Alam has to score 2 runs in the very last delivery to win the match for Bangladesh. Jahanara found kaur’s last ball full one on middle, she turned away towards deep mid-wicket for a brace! The fielder at deep mid-wicket was too slow, and doesn’t manage the best of throws to the keeper.
The Bangladeshi batsmen were scrambling with all their might, putting every ounce of their energy and channeling their inner Usain Bolts. A dive is put in, the dive of glory, and the coveted cup was theirs as they completed the double run! The inside edges, half-calls, all seemed in the end went with Bangladesh and they truly deserved it – deserved every little unit of luck. A fairy tale comes to an end.
Salma Khatun, Bangladesh captain: “We are very happy that we have won the Asia Cup. I can’t explain in words how big the words. We had confidence after the first India match, and we had to come through today because it was the final and we are happy we came through. They had a lot to lose and we didn’t. We had a lot to gain, and we have managed to do that. We feel good that we had a lot of supporters here, and thanks to all the supporters here who have supported us. We started poorly in the tournament and we are happy to have made a comeback and won all matches. So for the upcoming matches, we will try to continue our good form.”
Rumana Ahmed was declared Player of the Match.
Harmanpreet Kaur, Player of the Tournament: “It was a pressure game, and we had to control our nerves. We had to bat the situation and play to our skills. The batsmen didn’t handle nerves too well. There was nothing much in the wicket. Credit goes to Bangladesh for their performance in all departments. They were excellent. There was hold on the wicket, and there were very few areas for the medium pacers. But the spinners did a good job for us. It was not a decent total, but we fought till the end so the credit goes to the bowlers.”
India 112 for 9, Harmanpreet Kaur 56 off 42 balls, M. Raj 11, V. Krishnamurthy 11, J. Goswami 10. Rumana Ahmed 2/22, Khadija 2/23, Jahanara alam 1/23, Salma Khatun 1/24.