Ton-up Mithali leads India to second Asia Cup women's title
by AFP

Ground:National Stadium, Karachi
Scorecard:India Women v Sri Lanka Women
Player:M Raj
Event:Women's Asia Cup 2005/06

DateLine: 5th January 2006


Skipper Mithali Raj hit a brilliant century to lead India to an overwhelming 97-run win against Sri Lanka and a second successive Asia Cup title here on Wednesday.


Mithali hit seven boundaries in an unbeaten 108 to anchor the defending champions to a fighting total of 269-4 in their allotted 50 overs and then restricted the Islanders to 172-9.


India beat Sri Lanka and hosts Pakistan twice each in the double league event before reigning supreme in the final to defend successfully the Asia Cup title they won in Sri Lanka two years ago.


"It is a fantastic win for us. Although we proved stronger than Pakistan and Sri Lanka we were never complacent in the tournament, which helped us win," said Mithali, who hails from Hyderabad in India.


Mithali was involved in two innings-building partnerships, putting on 94 for the first wicket with Jaya Sharma (62) and 104 for the second wicket with Anjum Chopra (42).


Sri Lanka, who beat Pakistan twice in the event to earn a berth in the final, never looked like they would reach the stiff target despite Chamari Polgampole's 58 and skipper Shsikala Siriwardene's 55.


Indian fast bowler Devika Palshikar grabbed 3-31 to derail the Sri Lankan innings.


Former Pakistan great Wasim Akram was the chief guest on the occasion, praising the Asian women's standard of play.


"It is nice to see women play cricket. I am very amazed at watching Indian girls doing so brilliantly and with every chance the Pakistani girls will also improve," said Akram.


The tournament was Pakistan's first staging of a major international women's event after the government of the Islamic nation initiated national championships for women in cricket and football and allowed a mixed marathon last year.


Only families were allowed to watch the matches as Pakistan's conservative society does not allow men to watch women play.

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)