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Asian Games 2023, Women's Cricket: Shafali Verma Shines As India Enter Semi-final Despite Washout

India scored an imposing 173 for 2 in 15 overs against Malaysia, courtesy Shafali's sparkling fifty and Jemimah Rodrigues' 29-ball-47

Jemimah Rodrigues (R) batting on Thursday.
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Shafali Verma bullied an inexperienced Malaysian attack with a sparkling 39-ball-67 as India entered the semi-final 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. (Highlights | More Cricket News)

The match was reduced to 15 over-a-side affair and India scored an imposing 173 for 2, courtesy Shafali, skipper Smriti Mandhana's 27 off 16 balls, 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 method. 

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 as per their ICC ranking on June 1.

On a slow deck, Malaysia skipper Winifred Duraisingam elected to field and her team did 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 and mostly in the region between square leg and deep mid-wicket apart from a straight six that got her to a well-compiled half-century.

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 bowler's back-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. 

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