Asian Games 2023: Pooja Vastrakar propels India to maiden final with win over Bangladesh; medal assured
The article discusses how Pooja Vastrakar's outstanding performance led the Indian women's cricket team to their first-ever Asian Games final after defeating Bangladesh convincingly.
Pooja Vastrakar delivered an exceptional performance, propelling the Indian women's cricket team into their first-ever Asian Games final. In a one-sided semi-final, they convincingly defeated Bangladesh by eight wickets. Vastrakar, a right-arm seamer who was a late addition to the squad in place of Anjali Sarvani, produced a career-best performance, claiming figures of 4/17 in four overs. Bangladesh struggled and were bowled out for a mere 51 runs in 17.5 overs, their lowest T20 score against India.
Vastrakar, along with her young new-ball partner Titas Sadhu (1/10 in 4 overs), exploited the pitch's conditions superbly, extracting maximum bounce. Skipper Nigar Sultana was the sole Bangladeshi batter to reach double figures with 12 runs.
The Indian chase of 52 runs was a straightforward affair, achieved in just 8.2 overs. Kanika Ahuja (1 not out) and Jemimah Rodrigues (20 not out) ensured India's victory despite the early dismissals of skipper Smriti Mandhana (7) and Shafali (17).
This win also served as sweet revenge for the Indian women's team, who had to play without regular skipper Harmanpreet Kaur due to her two-match suspension. Harmanpreet's suspension stemmed from her public outburst and criticism of Bangladeshi umpiring during a previous series against Bangladesh.
The Indian women's team made a resounding statement with their dominant performance on Sunday. Vastrakar was in impeccable form, taking a wicket off the very first delivery, while Titas Sadhu bowled with pace and bounce. The combination of dot balls from both bowlers kept Bangladesh under pressure.
Vastrakar's early wickets put the Indian women's team firmly in control. Titas, a standout performer in India's U19 World Cup triumphs, troubled the batters with her pace and bounce. The spinners, Deepti Sharma (0/4 in 2 overs), Rajeshwari Gayakwad (1/8 in 3.5 overs), and Devika Vaidya (1/0 in 1 over), played their part effectively, capitalizing on the pitch's grip and turn.
A couple of run-outs further added to Bangladesh's misery as India clinched a convincing victory.