Euro 2020 Special

Women’s Asia Cup: India Lose to Pakistan but Rebound Against Bangladesh

It has been a mixed few days for India’s women at this year’s Asia Cup. On Friday they lost to their traditional foe Pakistan by 13 runs in Sylhet. However, given no time to lick their wounds, they responded by beating the hosts Bangladesh on Saturday.

It means that, barring a major upset in their final group match with Thailand, India are certain to top the round robin league table and can potentially look forward to the easier of the two semi-finals.


India’s opening matches

India, the most successful team in the history of the competition and the pre-tournament favourites, had made a strong start in this year’s competition, beating Sri Lanka by 41 runs, with Jemimah Rodrigues starring with the bat by making 76, whilst Dayalan Hemalatha took 3 – 15 with the ball.

They then beat the outsiders Malaysia by 30 runs, on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern methodology in a rain-affected match after Sabbhineni Meghana had scored 69 off 53 balls for them earlier. Rodrigues again had a big role to play in their next game, making an unbeaten 75, as India thrashed the United Arab Emirates by 104 runs.


Pakistan setback

Their first setback came on Friday, and against the team that no Indian team wants to lose to, whatever the competition, Pakistan, who had won the toss and chose to bat first. They made a slow start and were 33/3 when captain Bismah Maroof was joined at the crease by Nida Dar. The pair added 72 for the fourth wicket before Maroof was dismissed for 32. But Dar went on to make an unbeaten 56, including a six and 5 fours, and helped her side post 137/6 from their 20 overs.

India had been playing with their batting order in order to ensure as many players as possible got exposed to tournament conditions. But in this case, with captain Harmanpreet Kaur moving from her regular four spot to number seven, the experiment did not work. Wickets fell regularly, and it was only Richa Ghosh, who scored 26 off just 13 balls, including 3 sixes, who really threatened to turn the match back in India’s favour.

Her dismissal in the 19th over effectively spelt the end for her side, and they were eventually all out for 124, slipping to a 13-run defeat. Dar, who also took two wickets, was a worthy Player of the Match.


A bounce back against Bangladesh

That made Saturday’s victory over the hosts Bangladesh even more important, not least because there was an element of revenge to the win as well. Four years ago in Malaysia, the last time that the tournament was held, Bangladesh had beaten India by 3 wickets in the final in Kuala Lumpur.

That remains the only time since the competition was first staged in 2004 that India had failed to win it.

It was a case of lessons learnt this time as Shafali Verma starred with both bat and ball, making 55, and then taking 2 – 10. Both stand-in captain Smriti Mandhana and Rodrigues, again scored useful runs, whilst Deepti Sharma also finished with two wickets to her name.


The state of play

The win on Saturday mean that India top the round robin group with ten points, although they have played a game more than the four teams trailing them: Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Thailand.

And, with a vastly Superior Net Run Rate, it looks like they will win this stage of the competition and, theoretically have the easier of the two semi-finals.


Remaining group fixture

Their remaining group fixture is on Monday, against Thailand.

India will be expected to win that match, but they would do well not to underestimate the Thais, who have already pulled off one surprise in this competition by beating Pakistan by 4 wickets.


Potential semi-finalists

India could well face Bangladesh in the semi-finals again, whilst it could be Pakistan and Sri Lanka who will meet in the other.

The final itself takes place on October 15th in Sylhet, and, as things stand, India look the favourites to not only be there, but also to win it for the  seventh time.

And, if they do win it, it is much better than the men’s team managed a month ago.




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