Rumana Ahmed © AFP
Rumana Ahmed © AFP

Bangladesh have won their very first Women’s Asia Cup title in their first final, defeating India by 3 wickets off the last ball. This was the first time since 2004 India did not win the Asia Cup. Everything seemed to click for Bangladesh from the toss. They bowled tightly, fielded brilliantly, and did a much better job of holding their nerves under pressure than their Indian counterparts. Bangladesh had beaten India and Pakistan in the league stages as well.

With Shikha Pandey injured, Harmanpreet Kaur came on to bowl the 18th over when Bangladesh needed 23. She conceded 10 in the over but managed to pick up a wicket. Deepti Sharma bowled a tight 19th over, giving only 4. With Jhulan Goswami going for 16 in her last over, Harman opted to defend 9 off the last over herself. Sanjida Islam tried to go for the glory shot on the fourth ball of the over with 3 required off 3, but was caught by Veda Krishnamurthy at long-on.

However, that brought the set Rumana Ahmed on strike. Rumana hit the ball to long-on and turned for the second run, not realising that Harman had already gathered the ball. Harman was quick to dislodge the bails.

The onus fell on Jahanara Alam to score 2 off the last ball. Jahanara hit the ball to mid-wicket and ran for her life. The throw turned out to be inadequate, and Jahanara’s dive had ferried her to safety anyway.

The Bangladeshi openers gave the team a steady start scoring 33 in the Powerplay overs with 5 fours. Then, in the seventh over, Poonam Yadav struck twice off consecutive balls to send the openers back: she got Ayasha Rahman (17). who top edged to fine leg, and Shamima Sultana. who tried to hit a wide ball to the off gave a simple catch to Mithali Raj at cover.

Fargana Hoque and Nigar Sultana then threatened to take the game away when Poonam struck again. Fargana, trying to sweep, got a bottom edge that was well caught by Taniya Bhatia. Poonam also got the well-set Nigar Sultana for 27 in her last over.

Jhulan, India’s most experienced bowler, was brought on to bowl in the 13th over as the track was clearly tailor-made for slow bowling.

About first innings

Brief Scores:

India Women 112 for 9 in 20 overs [Harmanpreet Kaur 56 (42), Veda Krishnamurthy 11 (10); Rumana Ahmed 4-0-22-2] lose to Bangladesh Women 113 for 7 in 20 overs [Nigar Sultana 27 (24), Rumana Ahmed 23 (22); Poonam yadav 4-0-9-4] by 3 wickets with 0 ball to spare.