Shafali Verma bullied an inexperienced Malaysian attack with a sparkling 39-ball-67 as India entered the semi-finals of the women’s cricket event at the Asian Games by virtue of better ICC rankings after Thursday’s quarter-final was abandoned due to rain.
The match was reduced to 15 over-a-side affair and India scored an imposing 173/2, courtesy Shafali, skipper Smriti Mandhana (27 off 16 balls) and Jemimah Rodrigues (29-ball 47). Richa Ghosh’s 7-ball 21 cameo was like a cherry on top of the cake.
It was going to be next to impossible for Malaysia to even think of surpassing
the 100-run mark let alone chase the target, which was revised to 177 as per DLS
Malaysia played only two deliveries before heavy rain played spoilsport and the match had to be called off.
India are the top seeded Asian team in the competition according to their ICC ranking on June 1.
On a slow deck, Malaysia skipper Winifred Duraisingam elected to field and her team let her down due to sloppy fielding as they dropped a few catches.
Malaysia’s bowling didn’t have enough sting to trouble the Indian batters.
The lack of pace in their deliveries forced Shafali to walk down the track in order to meet the ball early. Mandhana, at the other end, got some full-tosses which were dispatched to all corners of the ground.
Mandhana was dismissed after the opening pair got 59 within the Powerplay when she tried to pull a delivery, which was bowled slightly on the fuller side from spinner Mahira Izzati Ismail.
Shafali’s innings had five sixes apart from four boundaries.
Rodrigues also looked in good touch as she got six boundaries and added 86 for the second wicket with Shafali.
Shafali was also hit on her right forearm when she couldn’t evade a powerful drive by Rodrigues and needed an urgent taping.
She got a reprieve in the deep off Mas Elysa’s bowling but immediately after that was caught plumb in front.
Richa came in and blasted four boundaries in the 15th and final over of the innings which took India past the 170-run mark.
India will play either Bangladesh or Hong Kong for a place in the final.
Pakistan and Sri Lanka are expected to contest the other semi-final.
Malaysia coach Thusara Kodikara was disappointed his team did not get the chance to finish the game.
“We are here to learn a lot of things... (but) we can’t do anything because of the rain. It was out of our control,” Kodikara said.
“I am very proud of them because they are quite young and of course they want to learn in every single game. They have been working very hard... I hope these young girls learn from this game also.”
Brief scores: India 173/2 in 15 overs (Shafali Verma 67, Jemimah Rodrigues 47). Malaysia (revised target 177) 1/0 in 0.2 overs. Match called off due to rain (India progress by virtue of having a better ICC ranking).
With inputs from PTI, Reuters