Historic Victory for India's Women's Cricket Team at Asian Games 2023
Historic Victory for India's Women's Cricket Team at Asian Games 2023

New Delhi: India's women's cricket team achieved a historic milestone by clinching their first-ever gold medal in cricket at the Asian Games. In a thrilling final against Sri Lanka held at the Pingfeng Campus Cricket Field in Hangzhou, India emerged victorious by a margin of 19 runs. The game unfolded on a challenging pitch, with India choosing to bat first and setting a modest target of 116 runs for the loss of 7 wickets. The turning point of their innings was a crucial 73-run partnership for the second wicket between Smriti Mandhana (46) and Jemimah Rodrigues (42).

Sri Lanka, in response, struggled to find their rhythm and could only muster 97 runs for the loss of 8 wickets in their allotted 20 overs. Titas Sadhu was the star performer for India, wreaking havoc with her exceptional bowling figures of 3 for 6 in 4 overs. The young pace bowler dismantled the Sri Lankan top order, dismissing Vishmi Gunaratne (0), Anushka Sanjeewani (1), and Chamari Athapaththu (12), setting Sri Lanka's chase off to a rocky start.

Harmanpreet Singh, back after a two-game ban, won the toss and opted to put runs on the board in a high-pressure match. India, however, faced an early setback with the loss of Shafali Varma (9) in the fourth over. The duo of Rodrigues and Mandhana came to India's rescue, steadying the innings with their impressive 73-run partnership. Mandhana's innings featured four boundaries and a six, while Rodrigues contributed with five boundaries on her way to a solid 42-run knock.

Unfortunately for India, Mandhana's wicket fell in the 15th over, derailing their progress just when they appeared poised to set a target closer to 150 runs. From there, India struggled to regain momentum, managing to add only 27 runs in the remaining five overs. Richa Ghosh, Harmanpreet Kaur, and Pooja Vastrakar all fell cheaply, and India finished their innings at 116 for 7 in 20 overs.

For Sri Lanka, Prabodhani, Ranaweera, and Sugandika Kumari each claimed two wickets, making it a commendable effort by their bowling unit to restrict a star-studded Indian batting lineup to a below-par total. However, chasing down the target of 117 on a slow-turning track was always going to be a challenging task.

Titas Sadhu's devastating spell continued in Sri Lanka's run chase, as they lost their first three wickets for just 14 runs within the initial five overs. Sadhu's dismissals of Vishmi Gunaratne, Anushka Sanjeewani, and Chamari Athapaththu gave India an exceptional start. Though Hasini Perera (25), Nilakshi de Silva (23), and Oshadi Ranasinghe (19) offered brief resistance for Sri Lanka, India's bowlers continued to chip away at their lineup, never allowing them to gain control of the match. Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Pooja Vastrakar, and Deepti Sharma also contributed with a wicket each.

India's journey to the gold medal match in the Asian Games 2023 was impressive. Their opening match against Malaysia was washed out, but they progressed to the semi-finals due to their higher seeding. In the semi-finals, India displayed dominance by defeating Bangladesh by 8 wickets to secure their spot in the final.

On the other hand, Sri Lanka reached the final by defeating Pakistan by 6 wickets, setting up an exciting title clash with India.

Today marked a remarkable day for India at the Asian Games 2023, as Indian shooters also secured a gold medal in the Men's 10m Air Rifle team event.

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