The Bangladesh women’s cricket team, who already secured their place in the finals of the South Asian Games’ T20 cricket competition, reinforced their hopes of winning a gold in the tournament with a thumping 249-run win over minnows Maldives at Pokhara, Nepal yesterday.
The matches are being considered as official T20 matches by the International cricket council (ICC) and Bangladesh’s mammoth win should give an idea of the intensity of the competition they faced against a Maldives side which had only played their first-ever T20 match three days ago.
Bangladesh secured wins over Sri Lanka and Nepal to cement their spot in the finals but surprisingly lost two top-order batsmen early yesterday after winning the toss. It all went downhill for Maldives from there on. Nigar Sultana and Fargana Hoque’s highest T20I knocks so far had been 46 and 66 respectively. Averaging just over 16 with the bat, Nigar went on to become the first women from the country to record a T20 century, narrowly besting Fargana to the milestone as Bangladesh, who regularly play this format, posted 255 for two over a side barely accustomed to playing cricket.
Nigar hit an unbeaten 65-ball 113, punctuated by 14 fours and three sixes, while Fargana Hoque, who also remained unbeaten, struck a 53-ball 110 laced with 20 fours. Maldives also gave away 20 extras, 10 of which came from wide deliveries.
After the exchange, Maldives were incredibly bowled out for just 6 runs and perhaps surprisingly their innings lasted 11.5 overs. Seven of Maldives’ batters went for a duck with the highest score coming from Shamma Ali, who scored two. Four of Maldives’ players -- Latsha Haleemath, Sajaa Fathimath, Eashal Ibrahim and Shamma -- are yet to celebrate their 15th birthdays. Their number three batter, Sumayya Abdul, is just 11 years old while Hamza Niyaz is 15. Bangladesh ran riot with Ritu Moni and Salma Khatun picking up three wickets each.
Having won all three of their matches, Bangladesh will now play the final against either Sri Lanka or Nepal on December 8 at Pokhara.