BANGKOK: India beat Pakistan by 17 runs in the Asian Cricket Council Women’s Twenty20 Asia Cup final in Bangkok on Sunday.
Batting out their entire quota of 20 overs, India put up a fighting 121/5 on the scoreboard.
Opener Mithali Raj was the sole curator of Indian innings as she stood firm in front of a gutsy Pakistan bowling attack and scored an unbeaten 73 to lift her side at a time when the rest of the batters could not put up an encouraging display.
Raj found a late-order support in Jhulan Goswami, who scored a quickfire 10-ball 17, to fast-track things for India in the much-anticipated contest.
For Pakistan, Anam Amin grabbed two wickets, whereas her partners Sana Mir and Sadia Yousuf managed to claim one each.
India and Pakistan contests have always been a thriller, no matter what the playing field is.
Bangkok, which is a relatively less popular destination for a sport like cricket, became the centre of attention for one of the most fierce rivalries when Pakistan batters came out to chase the target.
However, it was Indian bowlers who made sure to make things difficult for their opponents. Playing out 20 overs in full, Pakistan could only register 104/6, despite having a good opening stand of 24 runs.
Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof top scored with 25, with support from her openers as Ayesha Zafar made 15 and Javeria Khan 22. It was a similar story for Pakistan’s middle-order as they collapsed in search of quick runs.
A final push by former captain Mir and Nida Dar, who both scored unbeaten 12, went in vain as the required run-rate was too high and Pakistan was virtually out of the competition way before the final ball of the match was bowled.
Ekta Bisht of India lead the pack with two wickets, whereas Goswami, Anuja Patil, Shikha Pandey and Preeti Bose all grabbed a wicket each.
Star performer of the final, Raj, was declared the Player of the Match and the Player of the Series.