In a thrilling cricket final at the Asian Games held in Hangzhou, China, on Monday, the Indian women's cricket team emerged victorious, securing a gold medal by defeating Sri Lanka by a margin of 19 runs.
Led by their captain, Harmanpreet Kaur, who celebrated her 100th match as captain, the Indian team delivered an exceptional performance throughout the tournament, remaining unbeaten.
The final match, played on a challenging turning wicket that heavily favoured the bowlers, witnessed a pivotal partnership between Indian batswomen Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues. Together, they constructed a crucial 73-run partnership, steering their team towards victory. Mandhana made a significant contribution with 46 runs, featuring five boundaries, while Rodrigues added 42 runs off 40 balls, also punctuated by five boundaries.
Despite the efforts of Mandhana and Rodrigues, no other Indian batter managed to reach double digits, resulting in the team's total score being limited to 116-7 in their allotted 20 overs.
In their chase, Sri Lanka encountered difficulties early on and found themselves at 14-3 in just 4.2 overs. The top scorers for Sri Lanka were Hasini Parera with 25 off 22 balls, Nakashi de Silva with 23 off 34 balls, and Oshadi Ranasinghe with 19 off 26 balls. However, their collective efforts were insufficient, as the struggling Sri Lankan side could only muster a total of 97-8 in their allotted 20 overs.
Titas Sadhu emerged as the standout bowler for the victorious Indian side, delivering a breathtaking spell of 3-6 in four overs, which included an impressive maiden over.
In a separate match earlier in the day, the Pakistan women's cricket team faced disappointment as they lost to Bangladesh in the bronze medal match. Pakistan, batting first, managed to score only 64-9 in their 20 overs, with Aliya Riaz as the top scorer with 17 runs.
Bangladesh's Shorna Akter stood out as the star bowler, claiming figures of 3-16 in her four overs. Sanjida Akter Meghla also made significant contributions, taking two wickets while conceding just 11 runs.
Chasing the modest target set by Pakistan, Bangladesh reached the finish line in 18.2 overs, losing five wickets in the process. Shorna, with an unbeaten 14 runs off 33 balls, played a crucial role in securing the bronze medal for her team. Shamima Sultana and Shathi Rani both contributed with 13 runs each.
Nashra Sandhu was the standout bowler for Pakistan, registering impressive figures of 3-10 in her four overs.