The skipper struggled for support from the other end as Bangladesh beat India for the second team in the tournament.
The all-important final game between India and Bangladesh of the Asia cup was played at Kinrara Academy Oval in Kuala Lumpur. It was Bangladesh’s first final in the tournament, whereas for the Indians it was the straight 7th consecutive final.
Mithali Raj and Smriti Mandhana started off slowly and could only manage 8 runs in the first 2 overs. At the end of 5 overs, India already lost their left-handed opener Smriti Mandhana (run out) and the scoreboard read 16/1.
Mithali played a poor shot which went straight up in the air and she departed for mere 11 runs. Anuja Patil joined her captain in the middle only to get out obstructing the field and now the women in blue were 4 down only for 32.
Veda Krishnamurthy and Harmanpreet Kaur took the Indian ship forward to 62 but then Veda played a poor sweep shot to get clean bowled by a Salma Khatun delivery. Harmanpreet Kaur kept on going but the wickets kept falling on the other end.
Finally, the captain got support from veteran Jhulan Goswami as they took the Indian ship forward, captain Kaur got to her half-century in just 39 balls (7 fours). Jhulan departed in an unusual manner, she wanted to give the strike to her captain but ran herself out in an unusual manner.
The last Indian wicket fell off the last ball of the innings as Kaur tried to hit a six only to get caught on the boundary and the scorecard read 112/9 at the end of 20 overs.
For India, Ekta Bisht opened the bowling and started with a fine over indeed as she gave away just one run. Shikha Pandey was brought in the second over and the decision seemed an expensive one as she gave away 10 runs in the 4 balls that she bowled. After that she was taken off the field as she hurt herself on the 4th ball, the rest of the balls were bowled by Deepti Sharma.
Openers Shamima Sultana and Ayasha Rahman were cruising and looked pretty much comfortable apart from facing Ekta Bisht. The women in green were at 33/0 at the end of power-play. The Indian women came back strong in the next over as Poonam Yadav took two back to back wickets. Ayasha gave a simple catch to Jhulan. Whereas on the very next ball, Shamima drove hard only to find Mithali Raj on the off-side.
Fargana Hoque was the next one to fall as she tried to hit Yadav too hard but the wicketkeeper caught her edge. Nigar looked pretty good as she smashed three consecutive fours off Jhulan Goswami in the 15th over to take the score to 82/3.
Bangladesh looked very comfortable but then Yadav came back in the next over and struck again as she bowled a full toss and the dangerous looking Nigar hit it straight to Deepti who was fielding in the deep. Now Bangladesh needed 28 in the last 4 overs with 6 wickets in hand.
The in-form Ekta Bisht bowled the 17th over and gave away just 5 runs, the match was getting tighter with each ball. As a surprise move, Harmanpreet came herself to bowl the 18th but the decision backfired, Fahima edged it above the keepers head for four, the next ball the batter picked up two crucial runs.
However, to India’s delight the captain got the opponent stumped and now they needed 17 off 15 balls. The 19th over was a tidy one from Deepti Sharma as she gave away just 4 runs, Harmanpreet took the responsibility of defending 9 runs in the last over. The first ball was tossed up and went for a single, the next ball was smashed for four by Rumana.
Kaur struck on the 4th ball as the opponents needed 3 in 2 balls. The ball was flighted and Sanjida Islam got caught. Nobody believed what happened on the next ball as the dangerous looking Rumana Ahmed took a single, she reached the non-striker’s end but an intelligent Harmanpreet Kaur removed her stumps as the Rumana was out of her crease. Jahanara played it on the leg side and took two easy runs to win the first ever Asia cup for Bangladesh!