The path to the Women’s Cricket semi-finals in the Asian Games 2023 has been marked by rain-induced twists and turns, ultimately leading to the selection of four deserving teams. In a dramatic turn of events, Friday’s quarter-final clash between Bangladesh and Hong Kong was abandoned due to heavy rain, propelling Bangladesh into the semi-finals thanks to their advantageous seeding. This mirrored India’s earlier journey to the semi-finals, as their match against Malaysia suffered the same fate, with rain deciding their fate.
India is now set to lock horns with Bangladesh in the semi-final, a contest that will be devoid of their star player, Harmanpreet Kaur, who is serving a two-match ban imposed by the International Cricket Council (ICC). Harmanpreet’s suspension stems from an incident in a prior series against Bangladesh, where she was penalized for tampering with the stumps and engaging in a dispute with the umpire. Consequently, she missed the first Asian Games encounter against Malaysia and will be side-lined for the upcoming semi-final.
However, the ban could extend into the final if India advances due to their higher ranking, provided that Sunday’s semi-final showdown is also marred by rain, rendering it a washout.
Sri Lanka secured their spot in the semi-finals with an impressive 8-wicket victory over Thailand. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s hopes were dashed as their quarter-final clash against Bangladesh succumbed to the elements. Bangladesh capitalized on their higher ranking to earn a semi-final berth, much like India’s journey.
The fourth semi-finalist, Pakistan, earned their place through a competitive path, showcasing the depth of talent in the Women’s Cricket competition.
In their first match of the tournament against Malaysia, India posted a formidable total of 173 runs for the loss of two wickets in just 15 overs. The innings were highlighted by Shefali Verma’s half-century, complemented by Jemimah Rodrigues’ unbeaten 47 and Richa Ghosh’s explosive 21 off just 7 balls. Due to the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method, Malaysia was set a target of 177 runs for victory. Unfortunately, the rain played spoilsport, and Malaysia’s innings could not commence.
As the excitement builds, the Indian women’s cricket team will square off against Bangladesh in the semi-finals on Sunday. Simultaneously, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will battle it out in the other semi-final clash. Despite the weather-induced hurdles, the competition promises thrilling encounters and a display of exceptional cricketing talent on the grand stage of the Asian Games 2023.
Sunil Yash Kalra is a Women’s Cricket Historian and founder of Indian Sports Fans.