A clinical performance by the Indian eves helped them kick off their seventh women’s Asia Cup campaign in fine style by registering a comprehensive 142-run win against Malaysia at the Kinrara Academy Oval on Sunday. Veteran Mithali Raj slammed an unbeaten 97 off 69 deliveries which spurred India to a competitive total of 169/3 after which Pooja Vastrakar, Anuja Patil, and Poonam Yadav dismantled the Malaysian batting order to bowl them out for just 27 runs as India opened their account in the tournament.
India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur won the toss and opted to bat first which looked good for batting. However, Malaysia struck early as opener Smriti Mandhana departed for 8 in the third over. Promoted up the order Pooja Vastrakar (16) slammed three boundaries before she was removed by Malaysia’s Noor Hayati Zakaria leaving India at 35/2. Seasoned campaigners, Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur then came together to forge an 86-run partnership and guide India towards a match-winning total. Raj was particularly impressive in a dazzling knock of 97 which featured 13 fours and one six.
In reply, Malaysia failed to respond to the challenge as they lost half their side within the powerplay. Unable to recover from the early setbacks, the hosts kept losing wickets at regular intervals before being bundled out for 27. A lot was expected of 25-year-old skipper Winifred Anne Duraisingam but she failed to live up to the expectations and could only score 5 runs. None of the Malaysian batsmen could enter double digits and top scorer was 9 runs by Sasha Azmi.
India faces Thailand in their next encounter on Monday after which they square-off against Bangladesh on Wednesday.