Pakistan women cricketers created history when they won the events first-ever cricket gold at the Asian Games after an emphatic ten-wicket win against Bangladesh in the final.
Nida Rashid who excelled with an all-round show was the player-of-the-final as the team gave Pakistan the first gold in Guangzhou after grabbing silver in wushu and a bronze in snooker.
The cricket team, with an indifferent year behind them following a mixture of success and failure, continued their superb form in the tournament and, after opting to field, put up a good bowling performance to dismiss Bangladesh for a mere 92 in 20 overs.
Rashid took four wickets after conceding 16 runs off her quota of four overs while captain Sana Mir grabbed a brace. Bangladesh captain Salma Khatoon was the top scorer for her side with 24 while Rumana Ahmad, with 16, was the only other notable scorer.
Pakistan replied strongly and achieved the target without any loss in 15.4 overs with openers Rashid putting in an all-round effort, partnering Javeria Wadood at the top of the order. Rashid struck an unbeaten 51 off just 43 balls while Wadood, who smashed the winning boundary, scored 39.
“It’s the most memorable moment of my life,” Nida told Express News after guiding her team to victory. “I will not forget this win for the rest of my life. We came here with an aim to win the gold medal and I feel proud to have played an important role in my team’s victory.”
Captain hopes for bright future
Mir said the win would go a long way in promoting women cricket in Pakistan.
“I hope our triumph will change people’s attitude towards the game back home,” she said. “Parents, in my view, would feel more confident in allowing their daughters to take up the sport .I dedicate this win to the people back home and all my teammates who gave their best throughout the tournament.”
Pakistan, who were unable to make an impression in the 2010 World Twenty20 or the Women’s Challenge Cup held in South Africa recently, were boosted by the absence of India and Sri Lanka from the event.
Japan grab bronze
Meanwhile, Japan defeated hosts China by seven wickets to claim bronze in the event. After restricting the hosts to 65 for six off their quota, the winners reached the target in 19.2 overs to stand third on the podium.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 20th, 2010.