Bangladesh women’s cricket team captain Nigar Sultana Joty said her side are 110% confident of retaining the Asia Cup Twenty20 due to current form and home advantage.
The Tigresses are on a good run of form at the moment after finishing as the unbeaten champions in the T20 World Cup Qualifier in the United Arab Emirates, and advancing to the tournament finals, scheduled to be hosted by South Africa next year.
And since Sylhet will host all 24 matches of the Asia Cup’s eighth edition, Nigar said home advantage will be crucial as they bid to retain the title they won for the first time in 2018.
The Tigresses ended the long dominance of the Indian women who had won the first six editions of the Asia Cup from 2004 to 2016.
“Since the games are at home, we should put ourselves ahead. I think the biggest motivation is that we have qualified for the T20 World Cup, which is motivating the whole team,” said Joty, ahead of their tournament opener against Thailand this Saturday.
“There are many in our team who have played in the Asia Cup. So everyone is experienced. And we are 110% confident of retaining the title because we are playing at home and the team are in a good position. So of course I would like to hold the trophy on our home soil.”
Joty said their hat-trick triumph in the T20 World Cup Qualifier was the perfect preparation for the seven-team Asia Cup.
“I would say it was the best preparation for us, because there is no better preparation than playing competitive match. Since we have been playing in this format, it will help us a lot in the Asia Cup. We are playing together and we got team combination right in the Asia Cup, if we can play as a team, I think there will be a good result,” she said.
Joty also informed that they would look to jump ahead in the rankings in order to avoid the T20 World Cup Qualifier next time and qualify directly for the main event.
“Before leaving the country (for UAE), we said we don't want to play qualifiers anymore. Since we are now in FTP (Future Tours Program), we will play T20 matches in bilateral series. There is Asia Cup in which we are defending champions. So our target must be to win the series. By doing this, if we advance in the rankings, we will not have to play qualifiers next time,” she said.
Bangladesh returned home Tuesday from the Middle East.
Nine matches of the Asia Cup will be played at Outer Cricket Stadium in Sylhet while the remaining 15 will be hosted by Sylhet International Cricket Stadium.
The curtain will come down on Oct 15 with the grand finale.