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Indian eves claim Asia Cup crown

Guangzhou, China, Oct 31, 2012, PTI 0:05 IST
The Indian women’s cricket team lifted the inaugural Asian Cricket Council’s Twenty20 Asia Cup after beating arch-rivals Pakistan by 18 runs in a low-scoring final here on Wednesday.

India’s decision to bat first seemed to have backfired when the team folded up 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, giving away just a couple of wides from 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, who missed the title clash.

Electing to bat, Indian women did not have a good beginning as they lost their openers within the first couple of overs.

Anuja Patil was the first one to be shown the way to the pavilion by Sadia Yousuf. Sulakshana Naik soon followed suit to leave India tottering at four for two. 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 fell to tweaker Bismah Maroof.

With Amita Sharma 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 skipper was made to pay for her impetuosity by leg-spinner Sana Mir.

Indian tail couldn’t offer much with the bat as they was 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 Mir’s (11) stand of 27 runs.

But with both the batters falling within a span of one over things never looked the same for Pakistan as they kept on losing the wickets at regular intervals.

The team lost nine wickets for the addition of just 32 runs to hand India a comfortable 18-run win.

Brief scores: India: 81 all out in 20 overs (Poonam Raut 25; Sana Mir 4-13, Mariam Hasan 2-8) bt Pakistan: 63 all out in 19.1 overs (Archana Das 2-12, N Niranjana 2-15).

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