WOMEN’S ASIA CUP, 2018
Cricbuzz Staff •
Ekta Bisht returned impressive figures of 3 for 14 to restrict Pakistan to a paltry 72 for 7 in 20 overs. © Getty
Ekta Bisht returned impressive figures of 3 for 14, while Smriti Mandhana (38) and Harmanpreet Kaur (34*) cracked useful hands as a clinical India romped home by seven wickets against Pakistan to reach the final of the 2018 Women’s T20 Asia Cup. In what turned out to be a virtual semifinal between the two arch-rivals, Pakistan were restricted to a paltry 72 for 7 in their allotted 20 overs, with India overhauling the target in the 17th over.
Pakistan, who opted to bat, struggled to up the ante through the course of their innings. Nahida Khan (18), the opener, and Sana Mir (20*) were the only two batters to reach the double-digit mark for the side. Nida Dar and Bismah Maroof, the two in-form batters, also couldn’t make their presence felt; dismissed for 8 and 4 respectively. On the other hand, the Indian spinners – Anuja Patil (1/18), Bisht, Poonam Yadav (1/11) and Deepti Sharma (1/13) – kept the pressure on Pakistan’s batters, and made crucial incisions.
While chasing down a modest target, India suffered an early blow as Anam Amin castled the experienced Mithali Raj (0) in the opening over. The 25-year-old left-arm spinner from Lahore also sent Deepti back to the pavilion in the third over. Mandhana and Kaur, however, calmed down the nerves in the India camp with a stand of 65 for the third wicket. Nashra Sandhu removed Mandhana, but by then, India needed just three more runs for a comfortable win. Kaur cracked a four off Diana Baig, the all-rounder, to score the winning runs.
India, who have eight points from five matches to their name, will look to clinch their seventh Asia Cup. On the other hand, Pakistan (6 points from five matches) will have to hope for the laggards of the tournament, Malaysia, to upset the apple-cart and defeat Bangladesh, who in turn also have six points, but with one match remaining.
Brief scores: Pakistan 72/7 in 20 overs (Sana Mir 20*; Ekta Bisht 3-14) lost to India 75/3 in 16.1 overs (Smriti Mandhana 38, Harmanpreet Kaur 34*; Anam Amin 2-10) by seven wickets.
Wongpaka Liengprasert picked up a rich-haul of five wickets to power Thailand to a thrilling four-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the ongoing Women’s Asia Cup. Thailand chased down the modest target of 105, off the final ball of the match to cause an upset.
In a match that had its fair share of twists and turns, Sri Lanka kept themselves in the hunt by taking wickets at regular intervals. In the final over, Thailand needed six runs with Liengprasert still at the crease. Liengprasert played the key role again, this time with an unbeaten 13 and steered her side past the finishing line with a single off the final ball bowled by Inoka Ranaweera.
The platform for Thailand’s shock win was laid down by Naruemol Chaiwai (43), at the top of the order. The opener cracked three fours in her 56-ball innings. At 77 for 1 in the 16th over, with Chaiwai still at the crease, Thailand seemed to be cruising towards overhauling the target. However, Nilakshi de Silva dismissed the opener to lift Sri Lanka and open the floodgates for a collapse. Thailand lost their next four wickets for just 22 runs, including that of Nattaya Boochatham (19) and Sornnarin Tippoch (0), the captain, as they slid to 99 for 6. In the end, the collapse didn’t prove to be costly as Liengprasert guided them home.
Earlier, after Thailand opted to bowl, Liengprasert ran through Sri Lanka’s batting order to bowl them out for a cheap score. Liengprasert, who made her debut for Thailand in the 2013 ICC Women’s World T20 Qualifier, picked up the scalps of Anushka Sanjeewani, Harshitha Madavi, de Silva, Shashikala Siriwardene and Sugandika Kumari. For Sri Lanka, openers – Yasoda Mendis (22) and Sanjeewani (32) – made useful contributions, but couldn’t get the required support from rest of the batters. Oshadi Ranasinghe (20*) was the only other Sri Lanka batter to reach double figures.
Sri Lanka and Thailand finished with four points apiece, with the former slotting in at the fourth position to Thailand’s fifth on the basis of a better NRR.
Brief scores: Sri Lanka 104 in 20 overs (Anushka Sanjeewani 32, Yasoda Mendis 22; Wongpaka Liengprasert 5-12) lost to Thailand 105/6 in 20 overs (Naruemol Chaiwai 43; Nilakshi de Silva 2-17) by four wickets.