By Faiaz Ferdous Reza |
Bangladesh’s women’s cricket team clinched a memorable victory over the six-time Asian champion India by three wickets in the T-20 Asia Cup final at Kinhara Oval, Kuala Lumpur. This is the first time in the history of cricket that Bangladesh won a continental championship.
The final match was a thriller. After winning the toss, Bangladesh selected to field first and was set for a target of 113 runs by India. The game went to the last ball when Bangladesh still needed two runs to win; and one for the super over. Jahanara Alam pulled toward mid-wicket and scampered through for two with the captain, Salma Khatun at the opposite end for a scintillating victory. A sense of déjà vu gripped the cricket fans of Bangladesh in the final over, since the Bangladesh men’s team was in similar situations in the Asia Cup final against Pakistan in 2012 and in ICC T20I World Cup against India in 2016, where they faced heart breaking narrow defeats on both occasions. But this time the Tigress pulled it off with the maiden Asian Triumph.
The popularity of cricket rapidly grew in this country when Bangladesh qualified for the World Cup for the very first time in 1997. But it was an all-male affair. The women’s cricket team can now expect a boost in popularity and monetary support. After such a promising performance, it will enhance the confidence of the team members and also encourage young girls to play cricket for the country.
Female participation in sports is always challenging in the sub-continent region as they have to face many social barriers. Bangladesh women’s cricket is continuing to remain in the margins facing deprivation in training, academic and financial facilities. This epic win sends a strong message to the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB). This performance will enforce the board to think separately about the structures and the infrastructural build up for Bangladesh women cricket. The board needs to promote focus on the development of domestic level of cricket along with talent hunt programs to create a stronger base.
This astonishing victory is surely a proud moment for the entire nation. This victory will develop the perception of the players and boost confidence and morality for the upcoming matches. The women’s team will be flying to Ireland for a three match T-20 series in July, followed by the T-20 World Cup qualifiers in Netherlands.
Faiaz Ferdous Reza is an avid cricket player and fan. He is an undergraduate student in the department of economics at East West University in Dhaka, Bangladesh.