So it’s time for the super-final…
And the battle for title is between table topper, 7th time finalist, 6-times Asia Cup titleholder and current champion India Women and first timer yet phenomenal Bangladesh Women. Both the teams won four (4) out of their five (5) league matches and are set to contest in the title clash.
So let us focus on all the star players of both the teams who ensured their respective team – the road to the finals. For Indian team,
1. Mithali Raj – Player of the match of the opening game against Malaysia, Raj made a blistering 97 off just 69 balls smashing 13 fours and a six at a strike rate of 140.57
2. Captain Harmanpreet Kaur – 32 off 23 balls against Malaysia, 27 off 17 balls against Thailand, 42 off 37 against Bangladesh, 24 off 25 against Sri Lanka and 34 off 49 against Pakistan. These figures clearly depict that Harman played captain’s knock, everytime she came down to ground to bat and led from front.
She also took three (3) important wickets against Thailand and was adjourned Player of the match for producing an all-round performance for her team.
3. Anuja Patil – Although she took only four (4) wickets in five matches, but Anuja bowled in a highly disciplined way throughout the series. One of the most economical bowlers whose economy rate never surpassed the figure of 6 and never allowed the opponent’s batter to open their hand and play big shots. Also, played brisk innings in a couple of games and became Player of the match against Sri Lanka for playing exceptionally well in both, bowling and bating.
4. Ekta Bisht – Destroyed the Pakistani batting line up in the last league match by taking three (3) crucial wickets and was deservingly declared the Player of the match for the same.
Apart from these, Pooja Vastrakar took five (5) wickets in three matches and at a very economical rate. Also, she batted at different spots in all the three matches and gave her valuable contribution on all the occasions.
Shikha Pandey’s fast bowling and Poonam Yadav’s spin provided eight (8) important breakthroughs to their team.
Smriti Mandhana also made valuable contribution on a couple of occasions.
From the above statistics, it is clear that a complete team performance has ensured India to reach into the finals.
As far as Bangladesh is concerned, they have made huge turn around in this tournament and produced quite a number of upsets and have stunned the cricket world with their capabilities and strength. For them, main contributions came from :-
1. All-rounder Fatima Khatun – Player of the match against Pakistan, Fatima consistently bowled highly economical and was involved in two match winning partnerships (against Pakistan and Malaysia) for her team.
2. Rumana Ahmed – Eight (8) wickets in five matches with a economy rate of below 3. Figures say it all for the Player of the match of game against India Women.
3. Shamima Sultana – In-form Bangladeshi opener played significant innings on a number of occasions and set the right platform for the next batters. Also, she earned Player of the match award in the team’s last league match against Malaysia.
4. Jahanara Alam – She kept holding the bowling department firmly from one end and bowled beautifully throughout the Asia Cup. It never seemed easy for any of the opponents to play shots against her.
Khadiya Tul Kubra, Captain Salma Khatun, Fargana Hoque, Fatima Akter and Ayesha Rahman are players who contributed their part on their day and helped their team make records and create history.
After the league match defeat, Women in Blue are not going to take Bangladesh’s team lightly and will surely put their best foot forward to clinch their 7th Asia Cup title. And with so many splendid wins in the league stage, Bangladesh Women would like to continue their winning run and try to upset the current champions once again.
‘Gully’ cricket player and close observer of Indian Cricket team and it’s matches. Straight forward and still socially admirable personality. Strong belief in team work and possess high leadership skills.