A DRESS REHEARSAL: Sri Lanka captain Sashikala Siriwardene (R) shakes hands with her Pakistan counterpart Urooj Mumtaz Khan at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday ahead of today's Grameenphone Tri-Nation Women's Cricket Tournament final. Photo: STAR
Experience will be the only differentiating factor when Pakistan meets Sri Lanka in the final of the GrameenPhone tri-nation Women's Cricket Tournament at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur today.
The islanders have a lot more international matches under their belt and go into the final with a clear psychological advantage having beaten Pakistan in both their previous games in the tournament.
It is a fact not lost on Pakis-tan captain Urooj Mumtaz Khan, who maintains that while both sides are evenly matched in skill levels, experience is the vital difference. But the Pakistan skipper is quick to state that in one-day cricket, anything can happen.
"Two teams can be different on paper but when you walk into a match, your days performance decides the outcome."
Reflecting on the two losses against Sri Lanka Urooj seemed quite unnerved. The right-hander has made her maiden international fifty against the islanders and their strengths in all departments of the game are well known to Pakistan, as they have played each other quite frequently in recent times.
Star off-spinner Javeria Khan concurs with her captain's view saying that the experience garnered from the tournament can help them pull off an upset in the final.
"Cricket is a funny game and anything can happen on a match day, a game can go either side so we will go into the final with the confidence that we have derived from our games so far, hence that gives us some self-assurance," said Javeria.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka skipper Sashikala Siriwardene regards the final as a completely fresh match, although she agrees with their role as favourites.
"It's a good thing that we are going into the match as favourites, but it will be a new match and more importantly our batsmen, are going into the game with a lot of confidence."
Both camps were fulsome in their praise of the tournament organizers and sponsors for providing excellent service and were particularly appreciative of the crowd that had turned up to cheer them on -- and thus provided support to women's cricket.
On the state of Bangladesh cricket, both teams were optimistic. Urooj said that the Bangladesh team were a good bowling and fielding unit, and picked out left-armer Champa Chakma for particular praise.
Siriwardene was slightly more guarded in her praise, saying that although the hosts had come a long way, their batting deficiencies were still quite evident. She went on to congratulate Bangladesh for pulling up an upset win over her charges.