Bangladesh women’s cricket team claimed gold in the 13th South Asian Games, beating Sri Lanka in an enthralling final by 2 runs at Pokhara today.
Batting first, Bangladesh made just 91 but the bowlers did a remarkable job defending a small target. Salma Khatun, Nahida Akter and Jahanara Alam landed early blows with the ball before Nahida ran out Kavisha Dilhari with the Lankans struggling at 30 for four. Captain Harshitha Madavi was resilient in the midst of the slump, hitting 32 off 33 deliveries to take her side closer to the target. Lihini Apsara at the other end also contributed and after the fall of Madavi, carried the innings through to the death with Lankans needing 11 off 12 deliveries and with four wickets in hand.
The match going right down the wire, Nahida struck in the penultimate over to remove Jimanjali Wijnayake out stumped. Seven runs were needed off the last over and Jahanara ensured Bangladesh came away with the victory as Apsara fell to a run out trying to run a double in the fourth delivery before Malsha Ranathunga also fell to a run out in the final delivery of the over with three needed for victory. Sri Lanka stopped at 89 for 9, just two short of Bangladesh’s total. Nahida was the top performer with the ball, bagging two wickets and conceeding just 9 runs in four overs.
Earlier, Bangladesh’s women’s team struggled to get going with the bat from the off, managing just 91 for 8 in the final at Pokhara.
After a moderate start, Bangladesh lost wickets in a flurry to stutter at 6 for 42 in 11.1 overs. Nigar Sultana, who had struck ton in the last match, withstood the pressure to allow Bangladesh to play out the full 20 overs, scoring a team-high 29 off 38 deliveries. A 32-run partnership between Nigar and Fahima Khatun (15 off 21), ensured Bangladesh reached a respectable total.