Bangladesh women created history by beating six-time Asia Cup champions India in the final played at Kinrara Academy Oval in Kuala Lumpur. The 3-wicket win came after a hard-fought campaign that saw the side, led by Salma Khatun, defeat India twice in the tournament. The final went right down to the final ball, with Bangladesh needing 2 runs to win in the 113-run chase. A poor effort in the field saw India failing to halt the players from running the second run and saw them missing out on their chance to win a staggering seventh consecutive Asia Cup.
Bangladesh’s Rumana Ahmed, who impressed with her allround performance, was declared the Player of the Match. After Bangladesh won the toss and elected to field first, Ahmed picked up 2 wickets of and gave just 22 runs in her 4 overs to cramp India for runs. India kept losing wickets at regular intervals, but with a captain’s knock by Harmanpreet Kaur, managed to reach a decent total of 112/3 in 20 overs.
— Francis Kelly (@_Franciskelly) 10 June 2018
Kaur, who was declared as the Player of the Tournament scored 56 runs in 45 balls, and fought a lone battle for India in the middle as wickets kept tumbling at the other end.
Needing 113 to win in 20 overs to create history, Bangladesh’s openers Shamima Sultana and Ayasha Rahman got off to a strong start in the powerplay overs. But Poonam Yadav’s double strike in the 7th over brought India back into the match. Yadav took two wickets more in the match, giving away just nine runs in her four overs, giving her side more than a fighting chance in the match.
Well done 👍 girls https://t.co/3RDgHc7LEw
— Tamim Iqbal Khan (@TamimOfficial28) 10 June 2018
But a handy partnership between Nigar Sultana, who scored 27 runs, and Ahmed, who scored 23 runs before getting run out in the final over, took Bangladesh close to the finish line.
Congratulations to Salma Khatoon and Co. She has led bangladesh very well. Brilliant cricket from Bangladesh throughout. They held their nerve in pressure situations. Great for women’s cricket https://t.co/JXs3x8y9H3
— Sana Mir (@mir_sana05) 10 June 2018
Needing 9 runs to win in the final over, Harmanpreet was slammed for a four by Ahmed, but still managed to hold her nerves to get her run out two balls later. Eventually, Jahanara Alam kept her calm and made the most of India’s poor fielding effort to run a double on the final ball and become the first side other than India to win the continental title.
Speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony, Bangladesh skipper Salma Khatun credited the first win over India to give them the confidence before the final. “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,” she said.
She further went on to add that India had everything to lose in the final, which helped their side in handling the pressure. “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,” she said.
She further added that her side will hope to continue the form in the coming tournaments. “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,” the off-spinner said.
Addressing the defeat, India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur said that the batsmen did not handle the pressure well in the final. “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,” she said.
She further credited Bangladesh players for an allround performance. “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 til the end so the credit goes to the bowlers,” Kaur said.