When Bangladesh women’s team beat India in the league stages of the Asia Cup in Kuala Lumpur, their first over the sub-continent neighbours across formats, it came as a jolt for the team which had been going all guns blazing through the tournament. On Sunday, in the final, India’s hold over the tournament was snatched away by the same team on the final ball. As Bangladesh finished two runs on the final ball, Bangladesh won their maiden Asia Cup titles and India’s record of six-straight titles was ended by a poor throw from the outfield.
But the fact that the match continued till the last ball is testament of the effort that the bowlers put after the batters contributed with just 112 runs when put in to bat first. Captain Harmanpreet Kaur acknowledged the bowlers in making 113 a fighing total. “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 til the end so the credit goes to the bowlers,” said Harmanpreet who was adjudged the Player of the Tournament.
The batters made a poor start of things with Mithali Raj (11), Smriti Mandhana (7), Deepti Sharma (4) and Anuja Patil (3) making little impact early on with India reduced to 32/4 in the 9th over. Harmanpreet Kaur (56) and Jhulan Goswami (10)’s 33-run stand for the eighth wicket gave some hope to steer India to 112/9. In reply, India had to wait for the first wicket till 35 runs but Poonam Yadav’s four-for kept India battling and alive in the contest. With nine runs to get in the final over, Harmanpreet stepped up to try and defend but despite the drama, she couldn’t prevent 2 runs on the last ball. “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,” she went on to add.
Salma Khatun, Bangladesh’s captain, said the India win gave them the confidence booster needed to go all the way. Further she claimed India had more to lose out of the final which helped her side in clinching the title. “We are very happy that we have won the Asia Cup. I can’t explain in 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,” she said.
“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,” she added before hoisting the trophy aloft.