Giant-slayers Bangladesh romp to maiden Asia Cup final
Bangladesh 130 for 4 (Shamima 43, Rahman 31, Duraisingam 2-19) beat Malaysia 60 for 9 (Duraisinga 17, Ahmed 3-8) by 70 runs
Beat two-time runners-up (Pakistan): check
Beat six-time winners (India): check
Qualify for maiden Asia Cup final: check
Heading into the tournament, Bangladesh were labelled underdogs likely to pull off an upset or two. On Saturday, with their 70-run rout of Malaysia in the last league game, they surpassed last edition's runners-up Pakistan on the points table and set up their maiden appearance in an Asia Cup final, where they will take on defending champions India.
On the penultimate day of what has been a momentous week for the side, in which they consigned both Pakistan and India to big-margin defeats, Bangladesh strangled hosts Malaysia to 60 for 9 in 20 in their 130-run defence. Vice-captain Rumana Ahmed starred with the ball, picking her second three-for of the tournament, after a 59-run opening stand between Player of the Match Shamima Sultana and Ayasha Rahman hoisted Bangladesh to 130 for 4.
While Bangladesh have preferred to chase mostly, Salma Khatun's decision to bat found validation in Sultana's 54-ball 43 that complemented Rahman's 31 off 27. After Winifred Duraisingam, the medium-pacer, separated the duo in the 10th over, Sultana stitched together a 27-run second-wicket partnership with Fargana Hoque. Duraisingam's second strike, in the 16th over, however, ensured Hoque's contribution was limited to seven.
A huge swell of impetus to the Bangladesh innings came via the 36 runs Sanjida Islam and and Fahima Khatun added at over 10 runs per over. Sanjida smashed 15 off 12 while Khatun peppered three fours en route to her 12-ball 26.
In reply, only three batsmen in the Malaysia line-up managed double-digit scores. Duraisingam top-scored with a 35-ball 17 as two run-outs, coupled with Ahmed's 4-1-8-3 which proved too strong for the opposition to muster a fight against. Malaysia's slow-paced surrender ended in a ninth wicket for the Bangladesh attack, in which five of the six bowlers employed returned at least one wicket each.