Propelled by 46 runs from opening batter Smriti Mandhana and 42 from quantity three Jemimah Rodrigues, India set Sri Lanka 117 for victory
cricket workforce and
officers after India
beat Sri Lanka to
win the Asian
Video games gold medal
on Monday (25)
FRINGED by forested mountains in jap China, the Zhejiang College of Expertise may appear an unlikely battleground for cricketing powers with Olympic ambitions.
However on Monday (25), it was the main target of a lot of south Asia as India’s ladies beat Sri Lanka by 19 runs within the Asian Video games closing, claiming the nation’s first gold medal within the sport on the continental showpiece.
Propelled by 46 runs from opening batter Smriti Mandhana and 42 from quantity three Jemimah Rodrigues, India set Sri Lanka 117 for victory. Bowler Titas Sadhu, 18, took three wickets for six runs to assist safe victory within the T20 match.
“I believe this is likely one of the greatest achievements for us as a workforce,” Rodrigues advised Reuters.
“Simply to get the gold for the nation and so as to add to the medals of the nation, I believe there’s no larger prize than that.”
The often quadrennial Video games have been round for greater than 70 years, however cricket solely joined the programme on the 2010 version within the southern Chinese language metropolis of Guangzhou.
Although returning on the 2014 Video games in Incheon, South Korea, it was dropped from Jakarta in Indonesia in 2018.
Having not despatched a workforce to Guangzhou or Incheon, powerhouse India’s snubbing of the match was usually blamed for the Jakarta miss.
But nobody can accuse India of missing enthusiasm now, with the nation sending a powerful ladies’s squad to Hangzhou and a males’s outfit as properly, regardless of a scheduling conflict with the 50-over World Cup beginning on residence soil subsequent week.
India’s presence has been a coup for Hangzhou, making certain a sizeable chunk of the subcontinent’s inhabitants tune in.
An enormous Indian press pack was current to cowl the ladies’s closing and a parade of the nation’s officers, together with authorities and Olympic executives, filtered into the venue as their workforce started batting within the first innings.
In contrast to Asia’s different populous big China, India have by no means made a lot of a splash on the Olympics. Their sevenmedal haul on the Tokyo Video games is a document for the nation, however including cricket to the Olympic programme – as is anticipated for the 2028 Los Angeles Video games – may assist enhance the tally.
“It definitely seems prefer it may go to the Olympics. And why not?” Indian Olympic Affiliation (IOC) government member Amitabh Sharma advised Reuters earlier than the ladies’s closing.
“After we speak about China internet hosting the Asian Video games and cricket being right here, it’s good for the game.”
It might be good for the Olympics as properly, which has seen viewership numbers in key markets, together with the US, plunge in latest occasions.
Cricket may assist enhance curiosity within the Olympics in south Asia, a area which has historically been lukewarm concerning the world’s greatest sporting occasion.
International cricket officers, in the meantime, will hope Hangzhou’s Asian Video games may assist elevate the game’s profile in China, the place it has by no means caught on.
With a roofed grandstand for a couple of hundred spectators and a digital scoreboard exhibiting scores and replays, organisers spared little expense to host the match to worldwide commonplace.
A couple of native sports activities journalists coated the match however a number of admitted to being sketchy on facets of the sport.
Chinese language followers within the crowd acquired into the spirit, cheering each time the batters smashed the ball to the boundary.
The Zhejiang College of Expertise intends to maintain the cricket floor, having launched the game into its curriculum this 12 months.
Cricket’s entry into the Olympics would give it extra cachet amongst Video games-loving Chinese language officers, and sure carry a funding enhance.
It might additionally encourage India’s ladies to chase one other medal, having additionally received silver ultimately 12 months’s Commonwealth Video games in Birmingham.
“Hopefully, that’s the subsequent step for cricket,” Mandhana stated. “We’ve got had ladies’s cricket within the Commonwealth [Games], now the Asian Video games and the subsequent Olympics, hopefully it occurs.”