Bangladesh overpowered Nepal by eight wickets to win the inaugural ACC Women's Tournament in Johor Bahru. "It's a victory for the whole nation and the cricket system," said their captain Tajkia Akhtar.
Nepal chose to bat under cloudy skies hoping against hope to put some kind of defendable total against the strongest bowling attack in the competition. The express pace of Panna Ghosh was kept out but at the end of the eighth over, Shamima Akhter pierced Ritu Kanoujiya's defence with a yorker and and two more wickets fell soon after. Thunder rumbled intermittently and the moment lightning was seen, the umpires suspended play at the end of the 12th over with Nepal 12 for 3.
Heavy rainfall meant play was held up for more than four hours, the two dressing-rooms vying with each other to sing the loudest songs to pass the time. When play resumed, the match was scheduled for 18 overs a side.
In the six overs they had left, Nepal showed they could play shots. In doing so, wickets fell (Panna Ghosh taking three fine catches) but strokeplay has to be the way forward for women's cricket. "We're going to get better," said Nepal's manager afterwards. "We have the right spirit and want to succeed. We didn't know what to expect when we came to Malaysia now we know that to reach the level of Bangladesh we have to be more attacking."
Nepal's bowlers certainly attacked in defending 26. Bangladesh's captain fell in the first over and the bowlers bowled a tight line with Nary Thapa get a little late left-arm swing. Batting wasn't easy but two peachily timed off-drives from Chamely Khatun – the first, in spite of a heavy outfield simply skated to the boundary – saw Bangladesh home.
"The team have all worked so hard and done so much in preparation for this tournament that we really deserve to win," said Tajkia Akhtar afterwards. Our coach, 'Sir', (Zafrul Ehsan) has been great. I hope we can soon play better countries!"
Nepal won admirers too, and "they could reach Bangladesh's level within two years" said Rumesh Ratnayake, the ACC's Development Officer for Nepal.
The second ACC Women's Tournament is expected to be played at a similar time next year.
ACC WOMEN'S TOURNAMENT
Final: Bangladesh v Nepal, Johor Cricket Academy
BANGLADESH WON BY EIGHT WICKETS
Nepal won the toss and chose to bat
Nepal: 26 for 8 off 18 overs (S. Akhter 2-7, S. Khatun 2-5, T.R. Sarker 2-9, C. Chakma 2-0)
Bangladesh: 27 for 2 after 9.1 overs
Player of the Tournament: Panna Ghosh (Bangladesh)
Batter of the Tournament: Neisha Pratt (Hong Kong)
Bowler of the Tournament: Nary Thapa (Nepal)
Wicket-keeper of the Tournament: Mina Khatun (Bangladesh)
Filed July 18 2007