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India’s women win cricket gold on debut




India struck gold on their Asian Games cricket debut when they beat in-form Sri Lanka by 19 runs in the women’s final in Hangzhou on Monday.

They had declined to enter any teams on the two previous occasions cricket was played at the multisport event, at Guangzhou in 2010 and Incheon in 2014.


“It’s a gold medal for the whole of India,” said batter Richa Ghosh.

Batting first India reached 116-7 in their 20 overs with Smriti Mandhana (46) and Jemimah Rodrigues (42) putting on 73 for the second wicket.

“Winning a gold medal is something you dream about,” said Rodrigues.

“It’s a reward for all the efforts we have put in over so many years.”

Sri Lanka’s chase started badly when they were reduced to 14-3 in the fifth over by a devastating spell from right-arm seamer Titas Sadhu.


She took two wickets in her first four balls and another in her third over to finish with remarkable figures of three wickets for six runs.

Sri Lanka, who had beaten England in a white-ball series for the first time earlier this month, were always behind the run rate despite Hasini Perera looking to accelerate, hitting four fours and a six in a rapid 25.

When Nilakshi de Silva was out after a battling 23, Sri Lanka were 78-5 needing 39 more with only 23 balls remaining.

Two more wickets saw them face a near-impossible 25 off the last over and could only muster five as India began to celebrate.

“It’s a golden first for us,” India assistant coach Rajib Dutta told AFP. “Many more to come I hope.


“It’s a low-scoring wicket so we thought 110 would be a good score, but when Jemimah and Mandhana were together we thought 130-135 might be possible so we were a little disappointed by 116,” he added.

Sri Lankan all-rounder Oshadi Ranasinghe said they had missed a good opportunity to win gold.

“Looking at the way we batted, we have to get more disciplined,” she said.

Accumulating runs has not been easy all tournament at the Zhejiang University for Technology Pingfeng Cricket Field, on a flaky wicket affected by rain last week.

India won the toss and opted to bat even though both semi-finals and the bronze medal match were won by the team chasing.


They lost star opener Shafali Verma with the score on 16, but steadied to 35-1 at the end of the six-over power play where only two fielders are allowed outside the 30-metre circle.

When Mandhana fell for 46 with the score on 89 in the 15th over, it sparked a succession of dismissals that stalled India’s momentum when a testing total in excess of 130 had looked more likely.

Rodrigues, who had been not out 47 and 20 in her two previous Asian Games outings, was finally dismissed in the last over for 42.

“We had also struggled while batting on this pitch, so we thought we could defend this total,” said Ghosh, who smashed a huge six in her cameo of nine off six balls.

“The pitch was turning and holding up a little bit.”


Bangladesh took the bronze after restricting Pakistan to 64-9 and crawling to their target of 65 in 18.2 overs in their medal playoff.

It meant Pakistan, who won the gold on both previous occasions that cricket was played in the Asian Games, return home empty-handed.

“It’s not a good feeling. We never got enough runs on the board,” said Pakistan coach Mohtashim Rasheed.

Elsewhere, world 100m breaststroke champion Qin Haiyang added the Asian Games title to his collection with the second-fastest swim this year.

The Chinese star, also the 50m and 200m world champion, romped home in a new Games-record time of 57.76secs, with teammate Yan Zibei (59.09) taking silver and South Korea’s Choi Dong-yeol (59.28) the bronze.


China’s Wang Xueer powered to the women’s 50m backstroke gold on Monday, hitting the wall in 27.35secs.

Wang, who finished seventh at the July world championships, held off teammate Wan Letian (27.41) and Japan’s Miki Takahashi (28.21) to win the title.

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Haris Rauf’s BBL participation uncertain as PCB delays NOC: report




Pakistan pacer Haris Rauf’s participation in the Big Bash League 2023-24 is met with a potential hurdle as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is expected to delay the issuance of the No-Objection Certificate (NOC) required for his engagement in the league.

According to ESPNCricinfo, Rauf’s NOC is likely to face a delay until at least December 11, just four days after the start of the BBL. There is no confirmation of an immediate issuance thereafter.

The explanation for the delay revolves around the ongoing National T20 Cup in Pakistan, scheduled until December 10, which the PCB expects Haris Rauf to fully engage in.


Last week, Wahab Riaz, Pakistan’s recently appointed chief selector, disclosed that Rauf had declined participation in Pakistan’s Test series in Australia scheduled for December-January.

Wahab openly expressed his displeasure at Rauf’s decision, with both sides differing on the events leading up to this point. Reportedly, the 30-year-old cited his inexperience in Test cricket as the reason for not agreeing to play in Australia. Rauf conveyed to Wahab that focusing on his white-ball game and fitness would be more beneficial.

Rauf’s potential absence from the BBL could raise concerns, especially for Melbourne Stars, who had enlisted him as a key player. Initially, it was expected that Rauf would only miss the BBL during Pakistan’s five-match T20 series in New Zealand in mid-January. However, further delays may disrupt the league’s plans.

Melbourne Stars had introduced special memberships named “House of Rauf” for the initial three games at the MCG this year, along with a dedicated seating zone called Haris Rauf Bay.

Ongoing delays in Rauf’s NOC issuance may raise concerns among Pakistan’s centrally contracted players in general. Two more players, Usama Mir (Melbourne Stars) and Zaman Khan (Sydney Thunder), are also selected for the league.


Contract discussions between the PCB and the players faced obstacles, partly due to disagreements over the number of foreign leagues players could participate in annually. They seem to have settled on a limit of two leagues, contingent on the PCB issuing an NOC for participation.

The BBL is set to start from December 7, 2023, to January 24 2024.