A ruthless India would look to reassert their supremacy and aim to win an unprecedented seventh Asia Cup title when they clash with Sri Lanka in the final here on Saturday.
The tournament brought to fore India’s depth as the younger crop of players has shouldered the burden of taking the team to the final without any tangible contribution from skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and her deputy Smriti Mandhana.
Such has been the impact of the Indian team that skipper Harmanpreet played only four games (81 runs) and in total faced only 72 balls in those matches. Even Mandhana, who led in three games, skipped one.
The biggest takeaway from a tournament like this is that the Indian team’s junior members could react to pressure situations in a perfect manner when they were thrown at the deep end of the pool.
The most heartening aspect was how three ‘seasoned’ youngsters — 18-year-old Shafali Verma (161 runs and 3 wickets), 22-year-old Jemimah Rodrigues (215 runs) and 25-year-old Deepti Sharma (94 runs and 13 wickets) — put their hands up and carried the team through to the summit clash.
The only blip in an otherwise flawless campaign was a defeat against arch-rivals Pakistan.
At least on paper, the summit clash is a complete mismatch as only one Sri Lankan batter (Oshadi Ranasinghe) has managed to scale the 100-plus strike-rate. For India, Jemimah’s newfound consistency and Deepti’s dependability with both the bat and the ball have been the hallmark.
Shafali, who had a poor run prior to the tournament, also found her bearings with the bat and is also bowling some mean leg-breaks.
⚫ Match starts: 1pm (IST). Live on Star Sports Network.