Bangladesh crush Pakistan to win bronze in women’s cricket

Bangladesh's Marufa Akter celebrates with teammates after the dismissal of Pakistan's Sidra Ameen during the 2022 Asian Games women’s third-place playoff match between Bangladesh and Pakistan in Hangzhou in China's eastern Zhejiang province on 25 September 2023AFP

Bangladesh won its first medal in the Asian Games 2023 courtesy of the women’s cricket team, who defeated their Pakistani counterparts by five wickets to win the bronze medal on Monday.

Bangladesh had suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of India in the semifinal on Sunday, where they got bundled out for a mere 51 and lost by eight wickets.

On Monday, however, the Nigar Sultana-led team flipped the script in the third-place decider, restricting Pakistan to just 64-9 in 20 overs and then chasing down the target with five wickets to spare at the Zhejiang University of Technology Cricket Field.

This was Bangladesh’s second ever win over Pakistan in women’s Twenty20s in 17 matches. Their maiden win over Pakistan had come in 2018.

Bangladesh's Shorna Akter celebrates with teammates after the dismissal of Pakistan's Umm-e-Hani

Leg-spinner Shorna Akter was the most successful bowler for Bangladesh, finishing with 3-16 while left-arm spinner Sanjida Akter Meghla claimed 2-11.

Pakistan’s left-arm spinner Nashra Sandhu put Bangladesh under pressure in the chase by claiming three wickets but Shorna’s unbeaten 14 off 33 balls guided Bangladesh to 65-5 in 18.2 overs.

Earlier, Bangladesh pacers Marufa Akter and Nahida Akter struck in their first over as Pakistan lost both openers inside two overs of their innings after being asked to bat first.

The Pakistan innings never recovered from the early set back as Meghla and Shorna then ran through their middle order to restrict them to a paltry total.

Aliya Riaz ended up being Pakistan’s highest run-getter, making 17 off 18 balls while skipper Nida Dar made 14 off 18 balls.

Bangladesh's Shorna Akter plays a shot during the 2022 Asian Games women’s third-place playoff

In reply, openers Shamima Sultana and Shathi Rani made 13 each to put Bangladesh on course in the small chase.

Sadia Iqbal broke the stand by removing Shamima and then Sandhu struck thrice in quick succession. Shorna then took the responsibility to take the side home, formed a couple of small partnerships with Ritu Moni (seven) and Sultana Khatun (two not out) to take Bangladesh to its first medal in the Hangzhou Games.