India Women v SL Women, Asia Cup Final, Karachi January 4, 2006

Raj leads India to Asia Cup glory

Cricinfo staff

India 269 for 4 (Raj 108*, Sharma 42, Chopra 42) beat Sri Lanka 172 for 9 (Polgampole 58, Siriwardene 55, Palshikar 3-31) by 97 runs

Jaya Sharma added 94 for the first wicket before being stumped © AFP
India's captain Mithali Raj hit a sparkling century to guide her team to an overwhelming 97-run win against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup final at Karachi and with it their second successive title. As throughout the tournament the Indian batting proved too strong and another fine bowling performance capped a commanding team effort.

Raj hit seven boundaries in her unbeaten 108 to anchor the innings and power India towards a challenging 269 for 4. She was well supported by the rest of the top order as Jaya Sharma (42) formed a 94-run opening stand, followed by a 104-run partnership for the second wicket with Anjum Chopra (42).

Raj was understandably delighted with the result: "It is a fantastic win for us. Although we proved stronger than Pakistan and Sri Lanka we were never complacent in the tournament, which helped us win."

Sri Lanka, who beat Pakistan twice in the event to earn a berth in the final, never looked like they would reach the stiff target despite Chamari Polgampole's 58 and Shsikala Siriwardene's battling 55. The Indian seam bowler Devika Palshikar continued her impressive form with 3 for 31 to derail the Sri Lankan innings.

Wasim Akram was the chief guest at the final and praised the standard of play. "It is nice to see women play cricket. I am very amazed at watching Indian girls doing so brilliantly and with every chance the Pakistani girls will also improve."

The tournament was Pakistan's first staging of a major international women's event after the government initiated national championships for women in cricket and football and allowed a mixed marathon last year.