Guangzhou: Nida Rashid`s brilliant all-round performance helped Pakistan win the first cricket gold medal ever awarded at the Asian Games with a 10-wicket victory over Bangladesh in today`s women`s Twenty20 final.
After being sent into bat, Bangladesh was bowled out for 92 in 20 overs, with off-spinner Rashid taking four wickets for 16 runs.
Rashid then scored a superb unbeaten 51 off 43 balls to guide her team to 93-0 in 15.4 overs. Javeria Wadood hit the winning boundary and was not out 39.
"Today I feel women`s cricket has got an ideal platform to progress back home," Rashid told The Associated Press.
"Now more girls will take up this sport as they will definitely get inspiration from our gold winning performance."
It was Pakistan`s first gold at Guangzhou, after collecting silver in wushu and a bronze in snooker.
Earlier, Japan defeated China by seven wickets to clinch bronze. The men`s competition starts on the weekend.
Rashid struck twice in her first over when she had Rumana Ahmed (16) trapped leg before wicket and Ayesha Akhtar (9) neatly caught by captain Sana Mir. Bangladesh captain Salma Khatun top scored for Bangladesh with 24 before she holed out in the deep in the 17th over.
Rashid showed presence of mind to run out Tithyrani Sarkar (1) at the non-striker`s end with a direct throw in her follow through. She also took a well-judged catch at long off.
She wrapped up the Bangladesh innings with the wickets of Panna Ghosh (8) and Shohlay Akhter (4).
Bangladesh`s bowlers never posed a serious threat to Rashid and Wadood as both batters cut, drove and swept with ease in their run-chase.
They also got enough support from around 2,000 Chinese fans at the Guanggong Cricket Stadium and loud cheers of "Come on Pakistan" and "well bowled" by their country`s Olympic chief Arif Hasan.
Rashid, whose sporting idols are Pakistan one-day and Twenty20 captain Shahid Afridi and former test opener Saeed Anwar, hit seven fours.
"We had planned our innings as we didn`t want to lose this opportunity of winning gold medal," Rashid said. "We talked with each other after every over and wanted to win gold with big margin."