The Indian women kickstarted their Asian Games campaign with the quarterfinal against Malaysia on Thursday morning, in the hope that they get some match practice and a feel of the conditions before tougher challenges against traditional continental rivals like Bangladesh and Pakistan come up. While the top order, particularly opener Shafali Verma and No. 3 Jemimah Rodrigues, got a good workout, the bowlers didn't get the opportunity to test themselves as the match was washed out. Nevertheless, India are through to the semifinals, where they will meet either Bangladesh or hosts Hong Kong, China on Sunday. (Scorecard | Match Report | More Cricket News)
The Indian batters, led by the young brigade of Shafali Verma and Jemimah Rodrigues, feasted on the hapless Malaysian bowling and some profligate fielding to pile on an imposing 173 runs on the board in the rain-curtailed 15 overs. Shafali top-scored with a stroke-filled 67 off just 39 balls, and Jemimah stayed there till the end with an unbeaten 47 off 29 balls.
But just two balls into the Malaysian innings, it started to rain again, and after a considerable delay, the umpires had no choice but to call off the match, given that the second quarterfinal (between Pakistan and Indonesia) was slated at the same venue later in the day.
This meant that India qualified for the semifinals, by virtue of being the higher-ranked team (fourth in T20I rankings as against the 27th-placed Malaysia).
10:45am: India's Possible Semifinal Opponent
India will next meet the winner of the fourth quarterfinal, which will be played between Bangladesh and hosts Hong Kong, China on Friday. Bangladesh are expected to win that match and if that happens, they will meet India in the first semifinal on Sunday.
10:25am: Next Match Between Pakistan And Indonesia
The next match of the day will be played between Pakistan and Indonesia at 11:30am IST, if the rain relents by then.
9:53am: Match Abandoned, India Through To Semifinals
Unfortunately, the match has been called off due to incessant rain at the venue. This means that India are through to the semifinals by virtue of being the higher-ranked team.
9:17am: MAS-W - 1/0 (0.2): Rain Stops Play Again
The Malaysian innings begins, and Pooja Vastrakar could send down just two deliveries before it started raining again. The covers have come on and play has been halted.
8:56am: IND-W - 173/2 (15)
Richa Ghosh comes in and carries on the good work, finding the fence with her typically audacious strokeplay. Together with Jemimah, she takes India to a formidable total of 173 in 15 overs.
8:46am: Shafali Departs After Top Knock. IND-W - 143/2 (13)
Shafali is trapped plumb in front to be dismissed after a blistering 39-ball 67. She has taken India to a formidable score already.
8:35am: IND-W - 126/1 (10)
Shafali gets to her half century with a big six, and follows it up with another one over midwicket. The Indian dugout applauds her solid effort.
8:27am: IND-W - 98/1 (9)
Shafali now on the rampage, with her trademark big hits on the leg side. Nearing a fifty too.
8:22am: IND-W - 83/1 (8)
Shafali and Jemimah get going, though they are struggling a bit to time the ball given how slowly it is coming to them.
8:15am: Play Resumes
We are back underway. Jemimah takes a single to start.
8:02am: Resumption At 8:15am
Play to resume at 8:15am. The match has now become a 15-over game, down from the original 20-a-side.
7:53am: Rain Relents
The rain has now stopped, and the covers are coming off. We might get a play resumption soon.
7:02am: Rain Stops Play
And just as Jemimah Rodrigues walks in to bat after skipper Mandhana departs, the rain comes pouring down. The umpires call for the covers as play is halted. India at 60/1 after 5.4 overs.
7:00am: IND-W - 57/1 (5.1)
India lose Mandhana after a miscued pull lands straight into the point fielder's hands. The captain won't be happy with that shot. She, along with Shafali, has got India off to a rollicking start though.
6:50am: IND-W - 25/0 (3)
Ainna Hamizah Hashim continues. Shafali Verma welcomes her back with a big six. Full toss, and lofted over mid-wicket. 10 from the over. In the second over, bowled by Mahirah Izzati Ismail, India took nine runs, including a four from the blade of Smriti Mandhana.
6:41am: IND-W - 6/0 (1)
Ainna Hamizah Hashim to start the proceedings. A dot to Smriti Mandhana, then a single. A dot, then Shafali Verma hits the first four, straight. Six runs from the over.
India XI: Smriti Mandhana (C), Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Kanika Ahuja, Richa Ghosh (wk), Deepti Sharma, Devika Vaidya, Amanjot Kaur, Pooja Vatstrakar, Minnu Manni, Rajeshwari Gayakwad.
Malaysia: Ainna Hamizah Hashim, Winifred Duraisingam (c), Mas Elysa, Wan Julia (wk), Mahirah Izzati Ismail, Aina Najwa, Wan Nor Zulaika, Nur Arianna Natsya, Aisya Eleesa, Nur Dania Syuhada, Nik Nur Atiela
India win the toss and will bat first. There was a little delay due to 'morning rain' in Hangzhou.
6:25am: Starting as the overwhelming favourites against their counterparts from Malaysia, Smriti Mandhana & Co. would hope to enter the competition with a bang. This will India have played Malaysia twice in the past with the former winning on both occasions. Both teams first played in 2018 with India winning by 142 runs. They once again met last year and the Women in Blue emerged victorious by 30 runs. BTW, Mandhana is leading India as Harmanpreet Kaur is serving a two-game suspension.