India storm to Asia Cup success
India rounded off a sensational year with an unsurprisingly one-sided victory over Sri Lanka to take their second Asia Cup title in 12 months
India 95 (Paranjpe 35*, Raj 17*) beat Sri Lanka 93 by eight wickets
India rounded off a sensational year with an unsurprisingly one-sided victory over Sri Lanka to take their second Asia Cup title in 12 months. They stormed through the tournament with win after win and eventually rolled Sri Lanka over to win by eight wickets.
Sri Lanka, who were beaten finalists earlier this year, were never in the hunt. After choosing to bat they lost their first wicket with 4 on the board and didn't recover, making just 93. The pace bowler Jhulan Goswami was unusually expensive, with an economy rate of 5.75, but she made a vital incision, trapping the opener Dedunu Silva for 2 to puncture Sri Lanka. They quickly deflated.
Sunetra Paranjpe saw India home with an unbeaten 35, to finish with a tournament average of 62, and Mithali Raj joined her, with 17 not out. Sri Lanka badly needed early wickets and, although India lost their two openers along the way, there was no real contest.
India's win caps a year of prosperity on and off the pitch. They beat England in a Test for the first time, and on English soil, too, to take the series 1-0, although they lost the one-day series. They have also benefited from their board's merger with the richest cricket board, the BCCI, which has provided them with better fees, facilities and transport.
No team can touch them in the Asia Cup - they have lifted the title three times out of three - but already they will be working towards their next big target: to lift the World Cup. They became the first team in the subcontinent to reach the final last year, but fell away drastically to Australia. They will now be aiming to go one better, in Australia in 2009.
Jenny Thompson is assistant editor of Cricinfo