Bangladesh women’s cricket team created a new history when they edged six-time champions India by three-wicket in the final to clinch their maiden Asia Cup title at the Kinrara Oval in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
Pace bowler Jahanara Alam took two runs off the final ball as Bangladesh reached 113-7 to notch up the victory in the nervy final after restricting India to 112-9 in 20 overs.
Bangladesh needed nine runs to win in the final over and despite losing the wickets of Sanjida Islam and Rumana Ahmed they kept their heads cool to move to the winning shore for their first major trophy in history.
Bangladesh men’s team were in a similar situation in their first Asia Cup final against Pakistan in 2012 when they ended up in a heart-breaking two-run defeat.
A sense of deja vu gripped country’s cricket fans, many of whom had watched the game live on television, as Sanjida’s lofted drive off Harmanpreet Kaur ended up as catch at long on in the final over.
When Rumana went off the strike in the final ball and was eventually run out after making 23 off 22 balls, India suddenly sniffed a victory.
But Jahanara hit Deepti Sharma down the wicket towards the midwicket and ran hard to seal the win, which was expected to take Bangladesh’s women’s cricket into the next level.
Not far from the ground at Selangor, Bangladesh men’s cricket team created a similar history when the beat Kenya by one wicket to lift the title of ICC Trophy in 1997.
Bangladesh men’s team never looked back since the epoch-making victory and a similar result was expected for women’s team, who should grab now more attention and support.
Their Sunday’s win over India is considered to be bigger than many other cricketing successes of Bangladesh as they had defeated a side that won all six previous editions of Asia Cup and never lost a game in tournament’s history.
Bangladesh now defeated them twice in one edition, which would also give them a boost ahead of July’s World Twenty20 qualifiers in the Netherlands.
Victory of the team in the final owed to a combined effort which saw Nigar Sultana top-scoring with 27 off 24 Balls two opener’s Ayasha Rahman and Shamima Sultana laying the foundation with 17 and 16 runs respectively.
Apart from spinner Poonam Yadav, who claimed 4-9, no Indian bowler could
particularly trouble Bangladeshi batters as they chased their target with a kind of confidence that was never seen in them in the past.
Bangladeshi bowlers were similarly effective, putting up a spirited show to restrict India to a gettable score after skipper Salma Khatun won the toss and opted to bowl.
Skipper Kaur struck 56 off 42 balls to stage a lone battle after Bangladeshi bowlers provided excellent performance to hold them to 74-7 in 15 overs.
Khadija Tul Kubra and Rumana bagged two wickets each while Salma and Jahanara picked up one wicket apiece.
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