India Women battled against the mighty Aussies in the women’s cricket final of the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games in an effort to win a Gold Medal for the country. However, their fate was sealed in the final over as the Women in Blue lost their final wicket and the chance to win Gold by just nine runs. A hard-fought journey came to an end with the Women bringing home the Silver in Women’s cricket.
Let’s go through their journey and see how Team India battled with the rest of the participants on the field.
The Group of Death
India were joined by Australia, Barbados and arch-rivals Pakistan in the group stages of the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Their first match was against the Southern Stars, which ended in a narrow defeat. However, the Women in Blue bounced back against fierce rivals Pakistan Women in an enthralling victory to stand a chance to qualify for the semi-finals. The manner of victory made headlines as India bowled out Pakistan for just 99 runs in the first innings, the lowest total of the tournament.
India Women had to cross the final hurdle, to beat Barbados Women, who were level on points with the Women in Blue. On paper, both teams seemed evenly matched, with some of the West Indies Women representing Barbados. However, India replicated their dominance in the final group stage match after humbling Barbados and winning by 100 runs. India qualified for the semi-finals along with Australia Women.
Semi-final against England Women
One of the most exhilarating fixtures was between India and hosts England in the semi-final of the Women’s Cricket in the Commonwealth Games; a match that had everyone on the edge of their seats till the last ball. India won the toss and chose to bat first. Smriti Mandhana and skipper Harmanpreet Kaur helped India Women to put up a total of 164/5. Every batter from India had double figures scores, with Smriti scoring an impressive 61 off 32 balls and Jemimah Rodrigues scoring 44* off 31.
The onus was on Indian bowlers to defend the target of 165 in this T20I fixture. The Women in Blue did not waste time as the scoreboard said 81/3 after just nine overs. India Women’s bowling excellence combined with a fielding masterclass was for all to see as three of England Women’s top batters were dismissed via run-outs. Sneh Rana was given the task of bowling the final over when England needed 13 in the last over, and she did not miss. She subdued the threat by bowling dots and picking up a wicket, which could’ve been two if not for a dropped catch. India Women won by four runs to enter the final.
The Commonwealth Games Final
India Women met Australia Women in the final of the Birmingham Games. The Aussies won the toss and chose to bat first. Team India had a Herculean task in hand to subdue the threat that the Australians possessed. Renuka Singh was the first to make an early impact for India by dismissing opener Alyssa Healy in the third over for just seven runs. However, it took a while for the Women in Blue to repeat their play as Australia Women were hard to catch thereafter. Beth Mooney made a mess of the Indian bowlers along with skipper Meg Lanning. Sneh Rana stepped up to dismiss Mooney for an impressive 61, with the score 83/2. The wickets started to fall gradually after the second dismissal and by the end of the innings, the score was 161/8.
With their eyes set on the Gold, India Women had yet another massive target to chase but that didn’t seem like a problem since they had chased down such targets in the past. However,
India lost their star batter Smriti Mandhana in the early stages for just 6. India soon lost Shafali Verma in the following over for just 11. It took the explosive combo of skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues to lift the spirits of the Indian supporters as both batters began their chase. Jemimah was bowled by Megan Schutt in the 15th over and Pooja Vastrakar was soon to follow. Harmanpreet fell to Ashleigh Gardner in the following delivery and India Women pretty much conceded the game soon after. Efforts from Deepti Sharma and Sneh Rana were redundant as the Women in Blue stared down the barrel of yet another defeat at the hands of the Southern Stars. India Women were all out in the third ball of the last over as Australia Women won by nine runs to win the Gold.
India had to settle for Silver after a heroic effort in the Commonwealth Games. The players, however, were nothing short of excellent in the tournament. Sneh Rana was the highest wicket-taker of the tournament with 11 wickets. Smriti Mandhana finished as the third highest run-getter with 153 runs.
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