Bangladesh women prevented the Lankans from winning even though they needed just seven runs off the last over of the low-scoring thriller
The Bangladesh Women’s Cricket Team has successfully defended their South Asian Games gold medal, defeating Sri Lanka in a dramatic final at the 13th edition of the Games in Pokhara, Nepal yesterday.
The Tigresses’ experience proved to be the deciding factor, as they prevented the Lankans from winning even though they needed just seven runs off the last over of the low-scoring thriller.
Senior pace bowler Jahanara Alam was given the responsibility of bowling the last over, and held her nerve to ensure Bangladesh won by two runs. Sri Lanka finished on 86/7, chasing Bangladesh’s 91.
Jahanara conceded just a single on the first ball of the last over, and increased the pressure on Sri Lanka with a dot on the following ball. The third ball also yielded just a single, and Sri Lanka then lost a wicket to a run out when trying to sneak an extra single on the next ball. The penultimate ball of the over also yielded just a single. Another run out on the last ball handed Bangladesh the gold.
Earlier in the day, Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to field first. Bangladesh made a steady start to reach 36-1, but then struggling opener Ayasha Rahman, who scored two off 14 balls, and Sanjida Islam (15) lost their wickets on consecutive balls.
Things went from bad to worse when Fargana Hoque and Ritu Moni got out on the same score in the same over, leaving the women in red and green wobbling on 36/5 at the end of the seventh over, bowled by 18-year old off-spinner Umesha Thimashini.
Nigar Sultana, however, resurrected the innings and finished not out on a dogged 29 off 38 balls. She received support from Fahima Khatun (15) to put up a fighting total that their bowlers and fielders converted into a defendable one.
It was a spirited and combined effort that led to the successful defence. Player of the match Nahida Akter grabbed two wickets and conceded just nine off four overs, while her captain Salma conceded just 12 runs and picked up a wicket.
Heroine of the last over Jahanara was ecstatic after the match.
“Seven runs were needed in the last over. I have bowled quite a few final overs in my career, so I was confident that I could win the match for my team. Actually, I bowled the last over thinking that I have to defend five runs, not seven. My target was to bowl at least three dot balls and concede not more than three single runs. In the end, we were successful,” Jahanara told the media.
“We had confidence prior to the match. Generally, on these kinds of slow and low wickets, chasing the target is easier, so we were slightly on the backfoot, but we batted well in the later part despite losing quick wickets early. While defending the total, we knew that we had experienced bowlers who can snatch victory from a difficult situation,” she added.