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India qualify for Asian Games semis after rain abandons play

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Last updated on 21 Sep 2023 | 05:33 AM
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India qualify for Asian Games semis after rain abandons play

India secured their place in the semi-finals, slated for September 24 (Sunday), owing to their superior seeding

There was a surreal feeling of seeing India finally taking the plunge and participating in the Asian Games - the holy grail of sporting excellence in the continent. It was even more poetic that the match was being played at a purpose-built Pingfeng Campus Cricket Field in Hangzhou - a land where cricket is as abstract a concept as anything. 

But the Chinese audience who gathered around the ground to watch Indian Women lock horns with Malaysia Women had to endure the alien concept of rain abandoning the game; for some, it was nothing more than fun watching the groundsmen running to the ground with big sheets. But overall, the way Shafali Verma and Jemimah Rodrigues batted against Malaysia in the first quarter-final on Thursday (September 21), many would have been entertained to no end before the game was finally abandoned due to rain.

India didn’t have the services of Harmanpreet Kaur, who is currently serving her two-match ban, but Smriti Mandhana led from the front with a fine display of stroke-making. But it was Shafali, who was the showstopper. Verma’s barren run of 10 games without a T20I half-century ended as she took on every single Malaysian bowler on her way to 67 off only 39 deliveries. 

The rain intervened, truncating the contest to 15 overs per side at the conclusion of the powerplay. Undeterred by the weather, the Indian team pursued a formidable total. Rodrigues, displaying impeccable finesse in her batting, held the innings together, complemented by Richa Ghosh's brisk 21-run cameo. The Indian innings culminated at 173/2 in 15 overs.

Alas, Malaysia had but a fleeting moment at the crease as rain once again descended in full force. With no possibility of further play, the umpires made the inevitable decision to call off the game. India secured their place in the semi-final, slated for September 24 (Sunday), owing to their superior seeding.

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