The Northern Queens brought the house down at the Kinrara Oval with a last-ball six-wicket win over Eastern Lioness to conclude an exciting final and emerge champions of the inaugural Malaysian Super Women League on Thursday.
Adelaide Campion brought an end to five days of non-stop action with a boundary off the final delivery of the innings to help Queens reach 138 for four and overhaul the Lioness total of 135 for one.
The Queens owed their victory to their captain Winifred Duraisingam, who led from the front with a fighting 61 off 55 balls with nine fours while sharing an 85-run stand with Campion.
Winifred’s exit with two overs remaining left the stage to Campion, who ended unbeaten on 45 off 42 balls with a six and four fours as the Queens scored 22 runs from the last two overs.
“It was a great five days of games and everyone fought to the end,” said Winifred, named player-of-the-final, after receiving the champions trophy from Malaysian Cricket Association (MCA) patron Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja’afar.
“It was a superb final and even the third-placing match was exciting and I hope everyone learned something to take back home and share their experiences.
“We’ve seen a lot of improvement in our girls and even though some were carrying injuries, they still gave it 100 per cent and we saw their fighting spirit.”
Samantha Arnold carried her bat to end unbeaten on 85 as the Lioness set what looked to be a competitive total of 135 runs after overcoming a slow start.
Arnold blasted seven fours and four sixes off 72 balls and dominated an opening partnership of 86 with fellow Australian Alana Ryan.
But it was another Australian, Campion, who stole the show after a masterclass batting performance by Malaysia captain Winifred.
Queens, who defeated the Lioness by 34 runs in the preliminary round, looked to be cruising to their target until Arnold trapped Winifred leg-before to leave the Queens needing 20 runs off the last 12 balls.
They got eight runs from the penultimate over but lost the wickets of Manatsawee Jatho to a run out and Winda Prastini to Vishy Deobhanker.
With 12 needed from the last over, Campion hit a sumptuous six off Arnold to halve the deficit before hitting the winning runs from the last ball with a drive to the boundary.
“I’ve grown as a cricketer and as a person while I’ve been here in this once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Arnold, the player of the series. “We’ve never met each other before but we’ve become such close friends.
“Today we saw the strong will of everyone and what I’ve learned the most is the power of positive thinking.”
Earlier, Central Super Girls secured third place by the narrowest of margins with a three-run win over Southern Jaguars in a playoff.
The Jaguars rode on a 94-run opening partnership between Selina Solman and Valenta Langiatu but the runs dried up once the former was bowled by Rosenanee Kanoh for 35.
Valenta Langiatu stroked six fours and a six off 56 balls for an unbeaten 63 but saw wickets tumble around her as Dhanusri Sri Muhunan claimed three victims.
Dhanusri bowled the final over when Jaguars needed 11 to win but effected a run out against Phannita Maya before having Wan Nor Zulaika Sofea Wan Zulkifli stumped with six runs still needed off the last two balls.
Earlier, Mas Elysa Yasmin Zulkifli rescued Super Girls with an unbeaten 63 after openers Elsa Hunter and Dhanusri fell without scoring.
Mas Elysa hit nine fours off 57 balls and featured in 57-run partnerships with Noor Hayati Zakaria and Wan Julia Wan Rosdi.
“I hope this tournament will carry on forever because Malaysians learnt a lot especially from Samantha,” said Mas Elysa in echoing a consensus support for the tournament. “I’m still learning and all the girls are also learning from each other.”
MCA president Mahinda Vallipuram assured the players that the tournament, which featured players from Australia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vanuatu as well as Malaysia, is here to stay and likely expand to include more teams.
“This concept gives players from associates countries an opportunity to share and play each other more regularly,” said Mahinda. “It gives a chance to everyone to get to know each other better.
“In cricket, when we build people everyone becomes stronger. They get more exposure, attitudes change and everyone is more competitive. We would like to carry this tournament on a yearly basis and grow it laterally.”
Eastern Lioness 135-1 in 20 overs (Samantha Arnold 85 not out, Alana Ryan 28, Winifred Duraisingam 1-30)
Northern Queens 138-4 in 20 overs (Winifred Duraisingam 61, Adelaide Campion 45 not out, Samantha Arnold 2-33)
Result: Northern Queens by 6 wickets
Central Super Girls 129-4 in 20 overs (Mas Elysa Yasmin 63 not out, Wan Julia 26, Wan Nor Zulaika 2-15)
Southern Jaguars 126-7 in 20 overs (Valenta Langiatu 63 not out, Selina Solman 35, Dhanusri Sri Muhunan 3-21, Nasimana Navaika 2-9)
Result: Central Super Girls won by 3 runs
ROLL OF HONOUR
Champions: Northern Queens
Runners-up: Eastern Lioness
Third: Central Super Girls
Fourth: Southern Jaguars
Player-of-the-series: Samantha Arnold (Eastern Lioness)
Player-of-the-final: Winifred Duraisingam (Northern Queens)
Best batter: Samantha Arnold (Eastern Lioness)
Best bowler: Manatsawee Jatho (Northern Queens)