Kuala Lumpur: Six-time champions India once again stormed into the finals of the Women’s Asia Cup after thrashing arch-rivals Pakistan by seven wickets in their last league encounter at the Kinrara Academy Oval here on Saturday.
Electing to bat, Pakistan folded up for a meagre 72/7 with Sana Mir (20 not out) and Nahida Khan (18) managing to reach the double figures in a lacklustre batting effort.
In response, skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (34 not out) and her deputy Smriti Mandhana (38) steered the Indians to a comfortable victory with 23 balls to spare after starting on a shaky note.
Earlier, left-arm spinner Ekta Bisht spun a web around the Pakistanis with three wickets, and was well assisted by the other Indian bowlers who stuck to a disciplined effort.
During their chase, India too got off to a forgettable start, losing former skipper Mithali Raj and Deepti Sharma for ducks with the scoreboard ticking 5/2.
But thereafter the defending champions did not look back as the left-right combo of Smriti and Harmanpreet forged a brilliant 65-run third wicket stand to take the side within sniffing distance of victory.
Table toppers India (8 points) will now have to wait for the final league match between Bangladesh women and hosts Malaysia later in the day, to find their opponents for Sunday’s summit clash.
On the other hand, second-placed Pakistan, with six points in their kitty will desperately hope for an upset by Malaysia over Bangladesh (also on 6 points) to bag a place in the final.