China Witnessed History as India Women’s Cricket Team Secures Gold
In a thrilling clash on the cricket fields of Zhejiang University of Technology Cricket Ground (ZJUT Cricket Field) in China, the Indian Women’s Cricket Team etched their names in the annals of history. Going head to head against Sri Lanka in the Asian Games, the Women in Blue, captained by Harmanpreet Kaur, clinched a memorable gold medal. This remarkable victory was a culmination of teamwork, determination, and some standout individual performances.
India’s Batting Prowess
The encounter began with India opting to bat first. Shafali Verma’s early dismissal for just 9 runs off 15 balls provided a slight hiccup, but the team quickly rebounded. The partnership between Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues emerged as the driving force behind India’s innings. Both Mandhana and Rodrigues showcased their skills, retiring in their 40s. Their partnership injected momentum into India’s innings, although wickets fell at regular intervals towards the end.
As the innings progressed, the run rate steadily climbed, eventually crossing the six-run mark in the 13th over. This solid foundation allowed India’s middle order the opportunity to make a significant impact. However, Sri Lanka made a strong comeback during the death overs, striking at crucial junctures. India concluded their innings with 116 runs on the board, a competitive total considering the challenging batting conditions.
With the ball, India’s Titas Sadhu emerged as the star performer, sending shockwaves through the Sri Lankan camp. Sadhu’s opening spell resulted in three crucial wickets, including the dismissal of Chamari Athapaththu, Sri Lanka’s captain and key batter. Athapaththu’s early departure severely dented Sri Lanka’s hopes. Although Hasini Perera tried to resuscitate the innings with a flurry of boundaries, her dismissal for 25 left Sri Lanka struggling at 50/4 by the halfway mark.
India’s spinners further compounded Sri Lanka’s woes by maintaining relentless pressure on their batters, forcing them to take risks. The pitch’s challenging conditions, favoring turn, made the chase even more daunting for Sri Lanka.
In the end, Sri Lanka fell short in their pursuit of the target, managing only 97/8 in their allotted 20 overs. India’s clinical performance with the ball ensured a 19-run victory, securing the gold medal at the 2023 Asian Games. It was a well-deserved triumph for the Indian Women’s Cricket Team, as they outplayed Sri Lanka in a contest filled with twists and turns.
India Women: 116/7 in 20 overs (Smriti Mandhana 46, Jemimah Rodrigues 42; Udeshika Prabodhani 2/16, Inoka Ranaweekra 2/21)
Sri Lanka Women: 97/8 in 20 overs (Hasini Perera 25; Titas Sadhu 3/6, Rajeshwari Gayakwad 2/20)
Sri Lanka XI: Chamari Athapaththu (c), Anushka Sanjeewani (wk), Vishmi Gunaratne, Nilakshi de Silva, Hasini Perera, Udeshika Prabodhani, Oshadi Ranasinghe, Inoka Ranaweera, Inoshi Priyadharshani, Kavisha Dilhari, Sugandika Kumari
India XI: Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Richa Ghosh (wk), Deepti Sharma, Devika Vaidya, Amanjot Kaur, Pooja Vastrakar, Titas Sadhu, Rajeshwari Gayakwad
The 2023 Asian Games will be remembered for this historic victory, as the Indian Women’s Cricket Team showcased their mettle on the international stage.
Axar Patel’s Participation in the Last ODI Against Australia Has Been Excluded
In a significant development ahead of the third and final ODI between India and Australia, all-rounder Axar Patel has been ruled out due to a left quadriceps strain. Despite being conditionally selected for the Rajkot ODI, Axar has not sufficiently recovered from his injury and is currently undergoing rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru.
Ashwin’s Opportunity Shines Bright
Axar Patel’s unavailability has raised hopes for the inclusion of Ravichandran Ashwin in the World Cup squad. Ashwin has been in outstanding form in the first two ODIs against Australia, claiming four crucial wickets and showcasing impressive bowling skills that have troubled the Australian batters. This has led to growing calls for his inclusion in the World Cup squad. However, sources within the BCCI suggest that Axar remains on track for a return to the Indian team well before the World Cup.
Indications are that Axar could be ready for the World Cup warm-up games, creating a selection dilemma for the team management. As of now, Ashwin’s chances seem promising, and the selectors have not announced a replacement for Axar for the upcoming game.
Rest for Shubman Gill and Shardul Thakur
In another development, the national selectors have granted rest to Shubman Gill and Shardul Thakur for the Rajkot game, meaning they will not be part of the squad for this match.
Return of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Jasprit Bumrah
On the positive side, India will welcome back Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, who were rested for the initial two games of the three-match series. Jasprit Bumrah, who was also rested after the first ODI in Mohali and didn’t travel to Indore, is expected to rejoin the team in Rajkot. The third and final ODI against Australia is scheduled for September 27, and it’s a crucial match for both teams as they prepare for the World Cup.
Selectors’ Deadline Approaches
The selectors face a tight deadline as they need to name the final 15-player World Cup squad by September 27. Both the Indian and Australian sides will head to Rajkot for this important clash. Currently, India leads the three-game series 2-0, making the final ODI all the more significant in terms of squad selection and preparations for the upcoming World Cup.