The Women in Blue turned on the heat in the saturnine atmosphere to fetch India their second gold medal at the cricket stadium in Hangzhou at the Asian Games. In a low-scoring match, India showed intent against pedestrian Sri Lanka to win the T20 cricket final by 19 runs.
The scenes of joy and jubilation were in line with the moment, winning a gold medal for India. To be sure, Harmanpreet Kaur, back in the side after a three-match ban for her acts of indiscretion in Bangladesh, led the team well.
Yet, if one girl deserves credit for rocking Sri Lanka, it had to be Titus Sadhu, whose three-wicket haul early on kept the Lankans on a leash. The girl from Bengal will turn 19 in a few days. It was her lethal spell, including a two-wicket maiden early on which ensured the Lankans would be on the back foot.
Sadhu, by definition, means someone who is a saint and does not cause harm. But this Titus Sadhu was the destroyer, her haul of three wickets for six runs being sensational. The girl plays for Delhi Capitals in the WPL – Women’s Premier League. Yet, one had to wait till Monday to see her explode.
Indian women’s cricket team unfazed by weather conditions at Asian Games
On a track where dust was flying, a high score was not on the cards. If there was a maturity in the Indian batting, Smriti Mandhana as an opener, and Jemimah as No.3, showed what it is like to bat in conditions not conducive to strokeplay. The key was to stay at the crease as the duo scored 46 and 42 respectively.
This tournament in the Asian Games had been hit hard by rain. Yet, once the Indian team won the semi-final against Bangladesh with ease, a medal was on the cards. Once four wickets were down for Sri Lanka, they looked clueless. The field set by the Indian captain was aggressive and not restrictive. Without sounding mean or disrespectful, teams in the WPL have a better standard than this Sri Lankan side.
Even when they had wickets in hand and the target was just 117 runs in 20 overs, they made a hash of it. With Rajeshwari Gayakwad also bowling with great panache, the Sri Lankans looked lost like a babe in the woods. The only two batters who showed a stomach for a fight were Hasini Perera and Nilakshi de Silva.
What does this medal mean for Team India?
Hell of a lot since gold has been elusive. Considering that in many sports there is a struggle to win the brightest medal, the Indian women’s cricketers have won it, and plenty of love from the fans. In comparison to their male counterparts who get more attention, a win like this will raise their stature.
Women’s cricket in the Asian Games is new and for India to make an impact in the 2023 edition is big. After all, there was dilly-dallying at first if the team was to be sent. Pop the cork, and bring on the champagne. Let the bubbly flow. Cheers to the Indian Women In Blue, a gold after all!
S.Kannan is a sportswriter with 35 years of experience. He has covered four Olympics, multiple Asian Games and the Grand Slams. Kannan has watched all sports at the grassroots level, national level and international level. He also does appear on radio shows. At First Sportz, Kannan is Lead Editor and Mentor.
FirstSportz is the First Stop for all sports fanatics. Starting in 2019, we initially covered Olympic Sports, but in 2021 we added every other sport which you might be looking for, like NFL, Golf, MLB, WWE Cricket, Football, Tennis, Esports, NBA, MMA and more.