The Indian women's cricket team lifted the inaugural Asian Cricket Council's Twenty20 [ Images ] Asia Cup after beating arch-rivals Pakistan by 18 runs in a low-scoring final in Guangzhou on Wednesday.
India's [ Images ] decision to bat first seemed to have backfired when the team folded for 81, but the bowlers did a splendid job to dismiss Pakistan for 63 in 19.1 overs.
What was particularly impressive about the Indian bowlers was their discipline; they gave away just a couple of wides in 19.1 overs, which they took to bowl out their opponents.
"So happy for the girls even though I'm disappointed not to have played because of my ankle. Winning this Asia Cup is a great achievement and what's been special is how our team has become like a family over the years, everyone contributes and plays for each other," said an elated skipper Mithali Raj [ Images ], who was ruled out of the final.
Electing to bat first, the Indian women did not have an good start, as they lost both openers within the first couple of overs.
Anuja Patil was the first to be shown the way to the pavilion by Sadia Yousuf. Sulakshana Naik soon followed, leaving India tottering at two for four.
Poonam Raut (25) and stand-in skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (20) tried to resurrect the Indian innings. The duo mixed caution with aggression to raise 32 runs for the third wicket before Poonam fall prey to tweaker Bismah Maroof.
With Amita Sharma [ Images ] returning to the dugout in a hurry, Harmanpreet joined hands with Reema Malhotra (18) to take the Indian innings ahead. However, the two couldn't do much as the skipper was made to pay for her impetuosity by leg-spinner Sana Mir.
The Indian tail couldn't offer much resistance and they were bundled out for just 81. Mona Meshram was the last casualty, playing the last ball of the innings straight down to long-on.
Pakistan, after an initial jolt in the form of Qanita Jalil (2), tried to build their innings on the back of Bismah Maroof (18) and skipper Sana Mir's (11) stand of 27 runs.
But, with both batters falling in the span of an over, things never looked the same for Pakistan as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals.
The team lost nine wickets for the addition of just 32 runs to hand India a comfortable 18-run win.
Sulakshana Naik b Qanita Jalil 2
Anuja Patil c Sana Mir b Sadia Yousuf 0
Poonam Raut c Marina Iqbal b Bismah Maroof 25
Harmanpreet Kaur b Sana Mir 20
Amita Sharma lbw b Mariam Hasan 2
Reema Malhotra lbw b Sana Mir 18
N Niranjana c Nain Abidi b Bismah Maroof 3
S Sharma lbw b Mariam Hasan 1
Mona Meshram c Bismah Maroof b Sana Mir 3
Archana Das c Nida Dar b Sana Mir 1
Ekta Bisht not out 0
Extras: (B-2, W-1, NB-3) 6
Total: (all out in 20 overs) 81
Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-4, 3-36, 4-44, 5-62, 6-67, 7-70, 8-77, 9-79
Bowling: Sadia Yousuf 4-0-15-1, Qanita Jalil 2-0-8-1, Asmavia Iqbal 1-0-10-0, Sana Mir 4-0-13-4, Bismah Maroof 4-0-14-2, Nida Dar 2-0-11-0, Mariam Hasan 3-0-8-2
Qanita Jalil c A Sharma b S Sharma 2
Bismah Maroof c Malhotra b Patil 18
Sana Mir c Patil b Niranjana 11
Nida Dar run out 1
Javeria Khan c Naik b Niranjana 4
Nain Abidi st Naik b Das 13
Marina Iqbal st Naik b Malhotra 2
Asmavia Iqbal c Raut b Das 1
Mariam Hasan not out 8
Batool Fatima c Naik b Bisht 1
Sadia Yousuf run out 0
Extras: (W-2) 2
Total: (all out in 19.1 overs) 63
Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-31, 3-32, 4-33, 5-40, 6-44, 7-48, 8-60, 9-63
Bowling: S Sharma 4-0-12-1, Archana Das 4-0-12-2, Ekta Bisht 4-0-9-1, Anuja Patil 2-0-5-1, N Niranjana 3.1-0-15-2, Reema Malhotra 2-0-10-1.