Bangladesh win historic T20 Asia Cup title

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Sports desk, June 10: Bangladesh beat six-time champions India by three wickets in a thrilling final to lift Women’s Twenty20 Asia Cup on Sunday.The Tigresses needed nine runs off the last over bowled by India captain Harmanpreet Kaur to seal their maiden title, a daunting task, yet they held their nerve to leave the field as winners.

Sanjida Islam took a single in the first ball to give Rumana Ahmed, on 17, the strike. Rumana hit the second for a four and then took a single, meaning they needed three in as many balls.

But Sanjida gave a catch to Veda Krishnamurthy in the over’s fourth delivery and although Jahanara Alam and Rumana made one in the next ball, a rush of blood to the head for the latter meant she was run out as Harmanpreet caught her short off the crease.

Jahanara was now on strike, needing two off the final ball to make history and she did it thanks to some wonderful running between the wicket.

The Tigresses had their top-order to thank for the win, all the top five batsmen made decent contributions to make the job easy.

Openers Ayasha Rahman (17) and Shamima Sultana (16) made 35 in the first wicket to give them team an ideal start in a low-scoring final.

Nigar Sultana was the top scorer with 27 while Rumana made 23 and Fargana Hoque added 11.

India bowler Poonam Yadav bagged four wickets for just nine runs, but a team effort from Bangladesh nulled her wonderful performance.

Batting first, Harmanpreet scored a magnificent fifty to lead India to a modest total of 112 for 9.

Winning the toss, Bangladesh captain Salma Khatun opted to field first and her bowlers did vindicate her decision by showing the form that had earned them plaudits in this tournament.

The Indians were four wickets down on 32 and they kept losing wickets in regular interval. However, Harmanpreet was extraordinary on the day, fighting alone to keep the run wheel going.

Her 56 off 42 balls, studded with seven fours, helped India go past the three figure. Veda Krishnamurthy and Mithali Raj added 11 each while Jhulan Goswami made 10.

Khadija Tul Kubra and Rumana Ahmed bagged two wickets each while Salma Khatun and Jahanara Alam claimed one apiece.

Rumana was adjudged ‘Player of the Match’ for her all-round performance on the day while Harmanpreet was named ‘Player of the Series’.

Bangladesh had beaten the Indians in the group stage as well, but on Sunday they had to have nerves of steel to defy a team that had made winning this trophy a habit.

It was certainly a dream come true.