Hangzhou: In a twist of fate influenced by Mother Nature, the Indian women’s cricket team earned a spot in the semi-finals of the Asian Games 2023 after rain disrupted their quarter-final match against Malaysia. The outcome was determined by the higher seeding of the Indian side, which left Malaysia facing a daunting task that was eventually thwarted by the adverse weather conditions.
The highly anticipated quarter-final showdown at the Zhejiang University of Technology Pingfeng Cricket Field saw India, the top seeds in the women’s cricket tournament at the Asian Games 2023, take on Malaysia, who were making their debut in the competition.
Malaysia Women won the toss and chose to bowl first, putting the onus on India’s batting prowess. Smriti Mandhana, leading the Indian side in the absence of Harmanpreet Kaur, opened the innings alongside the dynamic Shafali Verma. The duo delivered a solid start, forging a 57-run partnership for the first wicket.
However, just as India appeared to be building momentum, rain intervened, forcing a one-hour delay in proceedings. Consequently, the match was reduced to a 15-over affair, with India resuming their innings at 60/1.
Shafali Verma carried on the positive momentum, combining effectively with Jemimah Rodrigues. The pair maintained a healthy scoring rate by consistently finding the boundaries.
In the 11th over, Shafali Verma marked her remarkable performance with a resounding half-century, achieved with a colossal six down the ground. Unfortunately for India, Malaysia’s Mas Elysa managed to dismiss Verma leg-before- wicket, ending her brilliant 67-run innings off just 39 deliveries, which included four boundaries and five sixes.
Richa Ghosh then joined Rodrigues and provided a scintillating finish to the innings. Ghosh’s explosive 21* off just 7 balls included three fours and a six off Elysa in the final over, propelling India to a commanding total of 173/2 in their allotted 15 overs. Rodrigues was exceptional, falling just three runs short of a half-century, remaining unbeaten on 47 off a mere 29 balls.
As Malaysia began their run chase, they could only face two deliveries before rain once again intervened, further complicating the proceedings. Ultimately, the match was called off due to the persistent adverse weather conditions, leading to India’s progression to the semi-finals, scheduled for September 24.
India Women: 173/2 in 15 overs (Shafali Verma 67, Jemimah Rodrigues 47*)
Malaysia Women: 1/0 in 0.2 overs.