Bangladesh created history as they beat favourite India by three wickets to win the Women's Asia Cup in Kuala Lumpur, on Sunday. Indian skipper Harmanpreet Kaur's all-round show went in vain as Bangladesh came out on top over six-time defending champions to win their maiden title. Before this edition, India had never lost a match at Asia Cup.
Chasing a modest target of 113, Bangladesh openers Shamima Sultana and Ayasha Rahman got off to good start as they slammed few boundary early on to put the pressure on India. The duo put on a 35-run stand for the opening wicket, before Poonam Yadav's twin scalps put the breaks on the Bangladesh innings.
Poonam removed both the openers in the seventh over to bring out two new batsmen on the crease. Fargana Haque and Nigar Sultana took the Bangladesh score past the 50-run mark. Poonam struck again and got rid of Fargana for 11. At this point, India were getting right back into the final, but in the 15th over of the innings, Nigar slammed three successive boundaries off the bowling of Jhulan Goswami to tilt the match in favour of Bangladesh.
Nigar then became Poonam's fourth scalp of the day as she was dismissed for 27. Fatima Khatun was the next to depart off the bowling of Harmanpreet for 9. Deepti Sharma conceded just four runs in the penultimate over of the innings, which meant that Bangladesh needed 9 runs off the final six balls. Rumana slammed a boundary on the second ball of the last over to put Bangladesh firmly in command.
However, Sanjida Islam and Rumana Ahmed then fell off fourth and fifth deliveries respectively, giving Bangladesh a target of two runs of the final delivery. Jahanara Alam swept the ball towards mid-wicket and a meek throw from the fielder ensured the batters returned home in time and won the match in thrilling style.
Earlier, Harmanpreet slammed a quick-fire half-century to guide India to 112/9 in 20 over after the 'women in blue' suffered a major top-order collapse in the final. Batting first, India openers Mithali Raj and Smriti Madhana got off to cautious start on the slow track at the Kinrara Oval. In the fourth over of the innings, a suicidal piece of running by the Indian openers saw Smriti run-out for 7. A 22-ball dry spell followed as the Bangladesh bowlers piled on the pressure on the Indian batters with some good bowling
The pressure finally got the better of Deepti and Mithali as the duo departed in quick succession. Anuja Patil was the next to depart as she was adjudged obstructing the field for coming in front of the throw in trying to get back inside the crease at the non-striker's end. Veda Krishnamurthy and Harmanpreet Kaur tried to steady the ship from there on and took India's score past the 50-run mark. But Veda's vigil in the middle ended when she tried to sweep a ball and it crashed into her stumps off the bowling of Salma.
Wickets kept falling on one end but Harmanpreet started to deal in boundaries on the other to take the India score closer to the 100-run mark. In the penultimate over of the innings, the India skipper slammed back-to-back boundaries to complete her 50 off 38 deliveries.
The Bangladeshi team was coached by Anju Jain of India. She was appointed as the new coach following a disastrous tour of Bangladesh to South Africa in which they were blanked in the ODI (5-0) and T20 (3-0) series.
Brief scores: India women 112/9 (Harmnpreet Kaur 56; Khadija Tul Kubra 2/23, Rumana Ahmed 2/22) lost to Bangladesh 113/7 (Nigar Sultana 27, Rumana Ahmed 23; Poonam Yadav 4/9, Harmanpreet 2/19)