Euro 2020 Special
 

Women’s Asia Cup final preview: Can India regain their crown?

India will play Sri Lanka in the final of the Women’s Asia Cup in Sylhet, Bangladesh on Saturday, October 15th.  The match is scheduled to begin at 11 am local time.

 

India crush Thailand

It comes after India cruised through in their semi-final against Thailand on Thursday.

Put into bat after losing the toss, India had made 148/6 from their 20 overs with Shafali Verma top scoring for them with 42 made off 28 balls, including a six and 5 fours. Captain Harmanpreet Kaur made 36, whilst Jemimah Rodrigues – arguably the Player of the Tournament so far – scored 27 on this occasion.

That was far too good for the Thai team who could only muster 74/9 in reply. Only two players as skipper Naruemoi Chaiwai and Nattaya Boochatham made it into double figures. Pace bowler Deepti Sharma took 3 – 7 for India whilst Rajeshwari Gayakwad claimed 2 – 10 as their side celebrated a 74 run victory.

 

Sri Lanka edge out Pakistan

The other match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan was a much closer affair.

It was the Sri Lankans who won the toss and chose to bat first and managed to total 122/6 from their 20 overs. Harshitha Samarawickrama top scored for them with 36, whilst opener Anushka Sanjeewani made a quick fire 26.

Pakistan were always in touch with the required rate, and whilst their captain Bismah Maroof was in the middle the match, it seemed to be heading their way.

But her dismissal for 42 in the 18th over proved to be something of a turning point and the remaining batters failed to get the necessary runs required, falling one short in the end.

 

Form guide

Saturday’s final will be a repeat of the group match between the two which was played on 1st October.

On that occasion, India had made 150/6 from their 20 overs with Rodrigues leading the way by making 76 off 53 balls in an innings which featured a six and 11 fours.

Sri Lanka were bowled out then for 109 with Dayalan Hemalatha starring with the ball on that occasion, taking 3 – 15, whilst there were two more wickets for Sharma and also for Pooja Vastrakar.

India have been the form team of the competition so far, having won five of their six group matches, with their one defeat coming against Pakistan. The two teams finished joint top of the round robin league table, but India were placed first courtesy of a far superior Net Run Rate.

Sri Lanka not only lost to India in the group stage but also the Pakistanis, a defeat they managed to reverse in the semi-finals.

 

History between the pair in finals

This will actually be the fifth final to feature the two countries, although the first since 2008. And so far, India have a 100% record against their southerly neighbours.

In the first ever Women’s Asia Cup which was played in Sri Lanka as an ODI event, it was just the two of them competing in a five match series. India won all five games.

Two years later, the competition had been expanded to three teams with the addition of Pakistan, who were the hosts. On that occasion, India beat the Sri Lankans by 97 runs in the final in Karachi.

The same three teams were involved again a year later with India again the hosts. This time the final was staged in Jaipur, but the outcome was largely the same. The home team won by 8 wickets on that occasion.

In 2008, which was played in Sri Lanka again, Bangladesh were added to the mix but it was the same two countries that made it through to the final in Kurunegala. India thrashed the home nation by 177 runs.

This will be the first time the two sides have met in the final the tournament became a T20I competition.

 

India want to regain their crown

Whilst Sri Lanka will want to emulate the achievement of their men’s side by taking home the Asia Cup, the weight of history and form is on the side of India.

In fact, the only time that India have failed to win this competition was last time it was held in Malaysia  four years ago when they lost narrowly to Bangladesh in the final in Kuala Lumpur.

They have had four years to stew on that result and will be keen to erase it from the memory bank with another convincing win on Saturday.

 

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