Amid cross border tensions, India will take on arch-rivals Pakistan in the final of the Asian Cricket Council Women’s Twenty20 Asia Cup at the Asian Institute Technology Ground in Bangkok on Sunday after the latter beat Thailand by five wickets in their last league match of the tournament.
The Indian team has made it to the final with a perfect record — five wins in as many matches. On the other hand, Pakistan picked up eight points with their only loss coming in the group league clash against India earlier this week. It was a terrific nail-biting encounter with India pulling off a fantastic five wicket win.
India defeated Nepal by 99 runs in their final group league match on Friday to complete the rout. Veteran Mithali Raj, who notched up a terrific half-century against Sri Lanka to help India reach the final, will have to shoulder the duties in the batting department besides Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur.
The head to head record between the two finalists this year is tied at 1-1 after Pakistan won by two runs on the Duckworth-Lewis method ICC World T20 clash earlier in March. While India will want to keep their perfect record against their arch-rivals in the big tournaments intact and lift their sixth consecutive title, Pakistan will want to change things around and win the title for the first time. India had defeated Pakistan to lift their fifth Asia Cup Women’s title back in 2012.
On Saturday, Pakistan bowled out Thailand for a paltry 51, and then rode on the brilliance of Asmavia Iqbal (24) and Nida Dar (14) to reach the target with 50 balls to go.
Earlier, former captain Sana Mir had wrecked the Thailand top-order after she returned figures of four wickets for nine runs in her four overs. With five wickets to her name so far in the tournament, she is now jointly tied at the second-spot in the list of the highest wicket-takers with India’s Ekta Bisht leading the tally with seven wickets. Nida Dar and Sana Mir have been the backbone of the Pakistani bowling attack in the tournament so far with the duo sharing 10 wickets between them.
The final also assumes significance as the International Cricket Council had recently deducted six points from the Indian women’s cricket team after they skipped three matches against Pakistan between August 1 and October 31, 2016.