“We did not have anything to lose, but they [India] had a lot to lose. On the other hand, we had a lot to gain, and we did.”
Bangladesh Captain Salma Khatun after beating India in the Women's Asia Cup final.
Salma Khatun, Bangladesh women's T20 captain, could not contain her emotions and began shedding tears of joy after her troops won a nerve-wracking last-ball thriller, displaying great temperament to clinch their maiden Asia Cup title by dethroning India yesterday in Kuala Lumpur.
The Tigresses erupted into wild celebrations at the Kinrara Academy Oval as soon as Jahanara Alam whipped Indian skipper Harmanpreet Kaur to deep midwicket to secure the two runs needed from the last ball to seal a three-wicket victory over the six-time champions.
Scoring the nine runs needed from the last six balls to chase down 112, Salama Khatun's side ensured that that heartrending picture of Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim crying after the 2012 Asia Cup final loss to Pakistan in Mirpur will not be revisited and instead Bangladesh fans would be able to boast their first success in the regional tournament.
There were also no reminders of that eight-wicket defeat in the 2016 Asia Cup T20 final, an occasion when the Tigers were trumped handily by India.
The same countries from the 2016 men's final took the field this time, but once the spinners started dictating terms after Salma Khatun had elected to bowl, the commentators began to reminiscence about the men's historic ICC Trophy triumph in Kuala Lumpur in 1997 that changed the course of Bangladesh cricket.
In the end, the women's team ushered in a new era at Bangladesh cricket's happy hunting city and provided ample evidence of their ability to bring smiles to millions of cricket fans in the country.
Calling it a fairytale would not be an overstatement as the Tigresses have overcome every difficulty and distress in the wake of one embarrassing defeat after another in international cricket to write a new chapter for Bangladesh women's cricket and bring renewed hope for the coming generations.
After a humiliating defeat against Sri Lanka in the first match, they bounced back strongly in the second match by beating Pakistan for the first time and did not look back since, stringing together a succession of strong performances -- beating India for the first time before confirming their maiden final appearance by thrashing Thailand and hosts Malaysia.
Their hunger did not end there as they played the final as true professionals to snatch victory from the mighty Indians.
The spin bowling was outstanding, the fielding was electrifying and the batters were not scared; they were instead the picture of composure in the chase of a 113-run target, taking calculated risks, playing some magnificent reverse-sweeps, paddle-sweeps and straight drives. Overall, the body language was superb and deserves as much praise as can be heaped on them.
It was a maiden Asia Cup final for the women, that too against very strong opposition, but number eight Jahanara kept cool despite the fact that wickets went down in the fourth and fifth ball of the last over, which began with nine to get. The way she dived to the striker's end and completed the second run off the last ball simply epitomised the hunger for success that has become the hallmark of this team over the past week. They thus ensured that Kaur's fantastic 56 and Poonam Yadav's four for nine went in vain.
Bangladesh, led by Rumana Ahmed and Khadija Tul Kubra, restricted India to 112 for nine in 20 overs and at one stage India were 74 for seven but their skipper helped put up a fighting total.
Shamima Sultana (16) and Ayasha Rahman (17) gave a solid start, sharing 35 runs for the opening stand, but both departed in quick succession. Fargana Hoque (11), Rumana Ahmed (23) and Nigar Sultana (27) then kept their calm and their wits about them to take the team to glory.
After player-of-the match Rumana's all-round show, Nigar's contribution deserves special mention in easing possible panic as, with the required rate hovering at eight an over, she hit Jhulan Goswami for three successive fours in the 15th over to simplify the chase.
In the end, it was a brilliant team effort that proved that the trophy was won by the best side of the tournament.