Bangladesh 65 for 5 (Shorna 14*, Sandhu 3-10) beat Pakistan 64 for 9 (Riaz 17, Shorna 3-16) by five wickets
Shorna Akter first ran through Pakistan’s lower-middle order and then did the needful with the bat when Bangladesh’s lower-middle order could easily have unraveled similarly to take her team to the podium at the Asian Games in Hangzhou.
It was a low-scoring bronze-medal playoff, with a total of 129 runs scored for the fall of 14 wickets across 38.2 overs. That might not have done much to get those unfamiliar with the game in the Chinese city excited, but Bangladesh will take it, not necessarily because of the colour of the medal, but the result itself: when the same two teams contested the final of the 2014 edition in Incheon (the last time cricket was a part of the Asian Games), Pakistan had won by four runs (DLS method).
Here, Bangladesh opted to field after winning the toss, and it was 6 for 2 inside two overs and 18 for 4 in the ninth, the wickets shared between Marufa Akter, Nahida Akter, Sanjida Akter and Rabeya Khan. Sadaf Shamas was the only one getting into double-digits in that phase.
There was a bit of a fightback after that courtesy Natalia Pervaiz (11), captain Nida Dar (14) and Aliya Riaz (17), but Shorna struck twice in the 15th over, sending back Dar and Umm-e-Hani, and then took out Riaz in the final over on her way to returns of 3 for 16. All Pakistan had on the board was 64.
That shouldn’t have been too many for Bangladesh, and they started well with Shamima Sultana and Shathi Rani putting up 27 for the first wicket. But they were dismissed in quick succession to leave the scoreboard reading 30 for 2, and with Nashra Sandhu striking regularly, Bangladesh were 43 for 4 by the 11th over.
A few more runs, and the story could have been different for Pakistan, but Bangladesh just needed to do it in singles from there on, which Shorna did well, her 14 not out coming off 33 balls without a four or a six, the win coming with ten balls left.