Sports desk:Women cricketers of Bangladesh took only 11 years to win a major trophy for the country, something which their male counterparts have failed to do in their 32-year international cricket history. Bangladesh women lifted their maiden Asia Cup trophy with a landmark three-wicket victory over India women’s team in the final in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, yesterday. Since playing their first international match in 2007 against Thailand, Bangladesh women made a giant stride to outclass their male counterparts who had played their first ODI match way back in 1986 and achieved the Test status in 2000. Bangladesh Women’s team got their ODI status in 2011 and are yet to be granted the Test status.
The win over a mighty Indian team, which have won the trophy in each of the six previous occasions, has made the taste of this outstanding win even sweeter. Before this season, India had never conceded any match in the tournament. but they tasted defeat twice at the hands of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh won all matches, barring their opening match in the first round when they went down to Sri Lanka. But after that defeat, the team did not look back and won the remaining four matches in the first-leg, including memorable wins against Pakistan and India.
Having beaten the Indian team by seven wickets in the group match, Bangladesh repeated their impressive feat by outclassing India in the final of Asia Cup, which was also their first final in a major tournament. The tournament was held in the form of T20, where India managed just 112 for nine in 20 overs. However, the Indians did not bog down, but took the match to the last over, making Bangladesh toil for every run.
But the brave women of Bangladesh held their nerve even when nine runs were required in the last over. It reminded the spectators the situation of the 2012 Asia Cup, where Bangladesh men’s team needed nine runs to win the trophy, but Pakistan eventually beat them by only two runs. However, unlike the men’s team, the women showed their steely resolve to end up on the winner’s side. They lost two wickets in that over, but finished the game in style, having taken two runs in the last ball.
Earlier, Khadijatul Kubra and Rumana Ahmed justified the decision to field first by making the task tough for Indian women. Some electrifying fielding also helped their cause as they checked the run flow despite the brilliance of Harmanpreet Kaur, who was playing really well at that time.
Coming to bat at No. 4, with three wickets down for 28, Kaur played till the last over and made 56 off 42, hitting seven fours before Kubra got the better of her. The next best score was set by Mithali Raj and Veda Krishnamurthy. Both of them scored 11.
Rumana claimed two for 22, while Kubra also got two wickets at the expense of but gave away 23 runs.
Ruman also showed her class in the batting department, specially in the last over, when Bangladesh needed nine runs. She took the pressure off by hitting a boundary in the second ball of the last over. Though she got out in the penultimate ball, Jahanara Alam finished the job without any hitch.
Rumana made the team’s second highest score, 23 off 22. Her all-round efforts made her the player of the final.
Leg-spinner Poonam Yadav of India, who snapped up four for nine runs, tantalised Bangladesh after openers Ayesha Rahman and Shamima Sultana made a promising start. They shared 35 runs in 6.5 overs, but more importantly gave the side a confidence to win the game.
But Poonam stalled the progress with her excellent bowling.
Bangladesh held their line through Nigar Sulatan, who scored 27 runs, the highest for the side. She held together the innings in the middle overs when Indian bowlers sensed a victory despite the paltry total on the board. The brilliance of Rumana Ahmed and Jahanara Alam eventually propelled Bangladesh propel towards the historic victory and caused hearbreak for India.