Bangladesh reaches Asia cup final for the first time. ©ACC

After crushing India and Pakistan, Bangladesh’s confidence was at it’s highest. While India beat Pakistan and booked a berth in the finals, Bangladesh’s qualification was clear: a win against Malaysia was the demand, and it was not a daunting task for them, with Malaysia being the weakest side of the tournament.

The match commenced with Bangladesh winning the toss, and opting to bat first. Shamina Sultana and Ayasha Rahman opened the innings for Bangladesh. They started their innings superbly, until Sasha Azmi got the wicket of Ayasha Rahman in the 10th over. Then the experienced Fargana Hoque joined Sultana at the crease. After smashing runs in the first 10 overs, they started rotating the strike in next couple of overs. In the 15th over, Winifred Duraisingam got two crucial breakthroughs, with well settled batters Shamina Sultana and Fargana Hoque being the target.

After 16 overs, Bangladesh’s score was 87/3, but in the final 4 overs, Fahima Khatun and Sanjida Islam paced up the innings. Their quick hits let Bangladesh to a fighting score of 130/4. Sultana 43(54) and Rahman 31(27) were the highest run-getters for Bangladesh. Winifred Duraisingam was the most successful bowler for Malaysia, with figures of 2/19. Sasha Azmi too got a single wicket.

Considering Malaysia’s recent form, it was not an easy total for them to chase down. Mahirah Izzati and Yusrina Yaakopn opened the innings for Malaysia. They started building up their innings slowly, but in the 2nd over  Jahanara made a strike and got the wicket of Baret. Soon, Yaakop too joined her in the pavilion after getting run out on Fahima’s stunning throw.

Mas Elysa was looking in fine touch, hitting some classy shots down the ground, but her form halted when Rumana got her leg before. After 10 overs Malaysia’s score was 32/3. Then, Duraisingam was the player to watch out for; she kept one end stable, but unfortunately didn’t get support from any other batter. All other batters threw their wickets easily, and Malaysia’s innings ended up at 55/9 in 20 overs.

The inability to pace up the innings at the right time, cost Malaysia the win. Duraisingam 17(35) and Elysa 14(18) were the top scorers for the Malaysia, with all other batters failing to make their mark, and most batters scoring single digit runs. Bangladesh all round efforts helped them to clinch the match comfortably by 72 runs.

Economical bowling and timely wickets, helped Bangladesh qualify for the finals. During the entire tournament, Bangladesh were in exceptional form; all the bowlers were equally brilliant, but Rumana Ahmed’s class and Salma Khatun’s economical spells were just icing on the cake. Rumana picked up 3 wickets while Alam, Khatun, Akter and Khadija managed to bag 1 wicket each in their kitties.

Tomorrow will be a great final between India and Bangladesh. Although India are the favourites, but Bangladesh’s confidence will be at an all-time high, so don’t forget to tune-in for the final match.