Both Bangladesh and India made a winning start in the eighth edition of the Women’s T20 Asia Cup after they won their respective opening-day matches at Sylhet International Cricket Stadium Academy Ground in Sylhet on Saturday.
Reigning champions Bangladesh clinched a massive nine-wicket victory over Thailand in the opening match of the tournament while six-time champions India registered a 41-run win over Sri Lanka in another match on the opening day.
bowled Thailand all out for 82 runs in 19.4 overs after the visitors won the toss and were elected to bat first.
Phannita Maya topscored for Thailand with 26 runs while opener Natthakan Chantham made 20 runs.
In reply, Shamima Sultana and Fargana Hoque gave Bangladesh a brilliant start as the duo put up a 69-run opening stand in just eight overs before the former was dismissed after scoring 49 off 30 balls.
Fargana and skipper Nigar Sultana Joty then took Bangladesh home in just 11.4 overs after remaining unbeaten on 26 and 10 runs respectively.
The Tigresses reached 88-1 to complete a comprehensive victory after Nigar finished the game by hitting a six off Suleeporn Laomi.
“First match is always important. It sets the momentum in the tournament. I think it’s a very good start for the girls in the tournament. The way the girls bowled today was simply brilliant,” Nigar told reporters.
“The batting intent was really good. We always have a plan to utilize the powerplay. Shamima apu batted really well. Pinky (Fargana) also supported her well. We want a similar start (in the next games as well) from them,” she added.
Bangladesh will face Pakistan in their second match at the same venue tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Jemimah Rodrigues starred with the bat as she struck 76 off 53 balls while skipper Harmanpreet Kaur made 33 runs as India posted 150-6 in their 20 overs against Sri Lanka after they were sent into batting first.
Sri Lankan right-arm pacer Oshadi Ranasinghe was the most successful bowler for her side claiming 3-32 in her four overs.
Off-spinner Dayalan Hemalatha then claimed 3-15 in 2.2 overs while pacer Pooja Vastrakar and off-spinner Deepti Sharma took two wickets each as India dismissed Sri Lanka for 109 runs in 18.2 overs to start the tournament on a brilliant note. Hasini Perera scored the highest 30 runs for Sri Lanka.
“We didn’t start off well but those crucial run-outs and we kept getting wickets. We are happy as few of our bowlers stood up, especially Deepti Sharma,” Harmanpreet said after the match.
Jemimah was named player of the match for her scintillating fifty.
Sri Lanka will face UAE in their second game today. Pakistan will take on Malaysia in the day’s other match.
Earlier in the morning, Bangladesh Cricket Board President Nazmul Hassan Papon inaugurated the tournament as the chief guest.
The last edition of the tournament, which was also played in the T20 format, was held in 2018. During that tournament, Bangladesh clinched their maiden Women’s Asia Cup title by beating India in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
This year, the remaining three teams in the seven-team tournament are Pakistan, Malaysia and UAE.
All seven teams will be facing each other once before the four top teams will progress to the semifinals.
The two semifinals will be held on October 13 while the final will take place on October 15.
The Tigresses recently became unbeaten champions in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier in UAE and also booked their place in the main event, scheduled to be held in South Africa next year.