India Women won the match by 17 runs    IANS
India Women won the match by 17 runs IANS

Consistent Mithali Raj shone with the bat to help India Women win the final match of Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Women s Asia Cup T20 2016. It was the lone effort from Mithali that took India s score to 121 for 5 wickets in 20 overs with a brief yet crucial innings from Jhulan Goswami down the order. Pakistan, chasing the target, started off well but the Indian bowlers bowled with discipline and restricted the opponents at 104 for 6, winning the match by 17 runs. With the victory India Women won the title for the sixth time consecutively and remain the only team to have won the title.

India Women won the toss and skipper Harmanpreet Kaur elected to bat first. Mithali walked out to open the innings with Smriti Mandhana. While Mithali looked extremely confident from the beginning, Smriti struggled to survive the Pakistan bowling for very long. She got out scoring 6 runs only. Mithali found some support from the other end as Sabbhieni Meghana joined her at the crease. The synchronisation between the two looked good and they built up a crucial partnership for India. Though Mithali contributed with the majority of the runs in the partnership, the time Meghana spent at the crease brought in stability to the Indian innings and gave Mithali time to play her game.

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Meghana departed for 9 and India lost 2 wickets back to back after that. Veda Krishnamurthy and Harmanpreet, both departed for single digit scores. Mithali looked confident as ever as she got to her half century off 43 deliveries and held the innings together. Jhulan Goswami s quickfire 17 off 10 was a crucial contribution that eased India to go past 100 and get to the total. She hit two big sixes in her innings. Mithali remained unbeaten at 73, which is her highest individual score in the shortest format of the game.

For Pakistan, Anam Amin was the most successful bowler as she picked up 2 wickets. The other successful bowlers were Sana Mir and Sadia Yousuf with a wicket each.

Chasing the target, Pakistan got to a good start. India came in with a different plan, handing Ekta Bisht the ball to open bowling. The openers Ayesha Zafar and Javeria Khan played the bowler well and putting up 10 runs in the first over, exactly the same score as India. The opening partnership looked strong and it took India 4.2 overs to get their first breakthrough. Veteran Jhulan gave the team their first success as she got Ayesha bowled for 15. They soon lost another wicket as Asmavia Iqbal departed for a poor shot selection.

Javeria Khan, along with captain Bismah Maroof, brought in some stability to the innings building another partnership. It looked difficult for the Indian bowlers to break the partnership between the skillfull batters but Ekta Bisht did it for India, removing Javeria. Bismah Maroof stayed at the crease for sometime after that before getting out for 25.

Pakistan kept on losing back to back wickets after that and the lower-middle-order failed to build up any partnership. Their innings came to an end with 104 for 6 runs on the board in 20 overs. India won the match by 17 runs and lifted the Asia Cup trophy for the sixth time on the trot. For India, Ekta Bisht was the most successful bowler with 2 wickets while Anuja Patil, Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey and Preeti Bose got a wicket each.

Brief scores:

India Women 121 for 5 in 20 overs (Mithali Raj 73*, Jhulan Goswami 17; Anam Amin 2 for 24, Sadia Yousuf 1 for 15) won vs Pakistan Women 104 for 6 (Javeria Khan 22, Bismah Maroof 25; Ekta Bisht 2 for , Anuja Patil 1 for 18, Preeti Bose 1 for 18) by 17 runs.

(Paulami Chakraborty, a singer, dancer, artist, and photographer, loves the madness of cricket and writes about the game. She can be followed on Twitter at @Polotwitts)