India faced Bangladesh in the first match of the ACC Women’s Asia Cup as the tournament got under way at Asian Institute of Technology Ground in Bangkok after 89 seconds of silence for Thailand’s beloved late king who died in October.

India had won all eight previous T20 internationals played between the two teams and are also defending champions having won all five editions of the women’s Asia Cup so they are regarded as tournament favourites.

India’s openers made a steady start with 20 runs in the first six overs but the run-rate increased in pace as the fifty came up in the tenth over. India’s total had reached 70 in 12 overs before the first wicket was lost, as Smrithi Madhani was caught at mid-off for 41.

Fellow opener Mithali Raj is India’s ODI captain and one of the most consistent run-scorers in women’s international cricket over the last decade so it was a great privilege for spectators in Thailand to have the chance to watch her bat.

With five overs left India were 86 for 2 and the 100 came up in the 18th over as T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur joined her predecessor who was looking serene at the crease as she approached her fifty. The captain hit the first six of the tournament in the 19th over but tried to repeat the shot and was stumped next ball. A flurry of late wickets saw Mithali left stranded on 48 not out from 59 balls as India reached 118 for 6 in their 20 overs.

Bangladesh would have been pleased that they were facing a target of 119 in 20 overs with a required run-rate of less than six runs per over but their openers had to face up to impressive Indian opening bowler Jhulam Goswani and she dismissed both in her first two overs.

Bangladesh were 16 for 3 at the end of their power-play and had progressed to 35 after the first 10 overs which saw just one boundary. Leg-spinner Poonam Yadav took three wickets as Bangladesh tried to hit out but were reduced to 50 for 6.

Mithali Raj worked the ball around diligently

Yadav finished with the best figures of the innings and of her T20 International career as she claimed 3 for 12 in four overs and opening bowler Jhulam Goswani was also impressive with figures of two for 10 as Bangladesh were bowled out for 54 in 18.2 overs to give India victory by 64 runs.

Debutante's ball for Mansi Joshi

In the second match of the day Pakistan faced Nepal who had qualified to play in the competition by virtue of finishing second in the ICC Asia Women’s World Cup Qualifier held in Hong Kong Kong.

Nepal had lost all three matches in the ACC Women’s Asia Cup T20 when it was last played in China four years ago when Pakistan were runners-up to India. Pakistan have been playing in the ICC Women’s Championship which has given them the chance to play international cricket around the world and the gulf in class between the two teams was clear to see.

Nepal were bowled out for 47 in 18.1 overs with captain Rubina Chhetry last woman out for 11, the only batter to reach double figures, as Anam Amin, Sana Mir and Sadia Yousaf each claimed two wickets.

Anam Amin gets her second

Pakistan’s openers, Ayesha Zafar and Javeria Wadood, made untroubled progress towards their modest target but Nepal claimed one wicket by means of a run out as Ayesha fell for 26 with the score on 44. Pakistan won by nine wickets as they reached 48 for 1 from the last ball of the tenth over.

Both the winners and runners-up in the Asia Cup 2012 had started this competition with impressive victories and hosts Thailand will be looking forward to their first match of the tournament when they face defending champions India at 10 am on Sunday morning.

ACC Women's Asia Cup 2016: Day 1

Bangladesh v India at AIT
Bangladesh won the toss and elected to field
India: 118 for 6 off 20 overs (M.Raj 49*, S.Mandhana 41; K.Kubra 2-12)
Bangladesh: 54 all out off 18.2 overs (P.Yadav 3-13, J.Goswami 2-10, A.Patil 2-7)
Player of the Match: Mithali Raj (India)

Nepal v Pakistan at AIT
Nepal won the toss and chose to bat
Nepal: 47 all out off 18.1 overs (A.Amin 2-7, S.Mir 2-7, S.Yousaf 2-11)
Pakistan: 48 for 1 off 10 overs (A.Zafar 26)
Player of the Match: Anam Amin (Pakistan)

Pictures by Abhilasha Agrawal

Tournament page

Filed November 26th, 2016