Hangzhou Asian Games | Vastrakar’s four-wicket burst helps India skittle out Bangladesh in semifinal

Shafali Verma plays a shot during the women’s cricket quarterfinal match between India and Malaysia at the 19th Asian Games.

Shafali Verma plays a shot during the women’s cricket quarterfinal match between India and Malaysia at the 19th Asian Games.
| Photo Credit: PTI

 The pacers scripted an eight-wicket victory for the Indian women’s team over Bangladesh in the semifinal on Sunday, assuring a silver medal at its maiden Asian Games.

When these two teams had battled it out in a low-scoring series in the sub-continent a couple of months ago, there was plenty of bite, tension and spin, which had plenty of say in the outcome. But here at the Zheijang University’s Pingeng Campus Cricket Field, Bangladesh was shot out for a paltry 51, which India chased down inside nine overs, just as spin was starting to take effect. Shafali Verma was bowled by Fahima Khatun, but India needed just 12 more runs, with Jemimah Rodrigues’ (20 not out) seeing the chase through.

With the floodlights taking effect before 9 a.m. on a chilly morning, Bangladesh skipper Nigar Sultana opted to bat. While India had the pace to trouble Bangladesh in helpful bowling conditions, the Bangladesh batters didn’t help themselves with their decision-making.

Shathi Rani flashed at an out-swinging delivery from Pooja Vastrakar on ball one but could only find a thick outside edge and into the gloves of Richa Ghosh. Her partner Shamima Sultana, though, could consider herself unlucky when the umpire adjudged her leg-before when she was struck outside the line by a Vastrakar in-swinger. There is no decision review system (DRS) in place. The opening pair was among five batters who fell for no score.

Sobhana Mistry got a reprieve from Smriti Mandhana at mid-off but she offered the Indian captain another chance by looking to go over the infield off Vastrakar, where Mandhana didn’t err. India’s ground-fielding was excellent but was poor with its catching after drops from Mandhana, Devika Vaidya and a difficult chance for Richa.

The Indian pacers, Vastrakar and 18-year-old debutant Titas Sadhu, put the ball in the right areas and moved the ball both ways. Titas, who got her cap from Mandhana, picked her first international wicket with an inswinging yorker to rattle the stumps of Shorna Akter for a five-ball duck.

Only Sultana managed to get into doubles figures before she took off for a risky single but was caught short by a direct- hit from Devika. Two balls later, Bangladesh was six down inside the eighth over. Khatun was run out at the striker’s end having responded to Ritu Moni’s call after dabbing it to Kanika Ahuja at short third.

After the drinks break, Amonjot Kaur castled Rabeya Khan with an inswinging yorker and Vastrakar returned for her fourth wicket by knocking Ritu’s top of leg stump. Indian spinners Rajeswari Gayakwad and Devika cleaned up the tail after Bangladesh dragged itself over the fifty-run mark.

India will take on Sri Lanka, which beat Pakistan in the other semifinal.

The scores: Bangladesh 51 in 17.5 overs (Pooja Vastrakar 4/17) lost to India 52/2 in 8.2 overs. 

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