In an unforgettable feat, the Indian women’s cricket team clinched the gold medal at the Asian Games 2023 held in Hangzhou, China. At the heart of this remarkable victory was vice-captain Smriti Mandhana, whose leadership and emotional journey have left an indelible mark on the world of women’s cricket.*
The Indian women’s cricket team marked a significant return to the Asian Games after a long hiatus. Notably, India had not participated in the 2010 and 2014 editions of the Games. This comeback was a testament to the growing prominence of women’s cricket in the country.
Throughout the tournament, Smriti Mandhana took charge as captain, leading the team in crucial encounters, including the quarterfinal against Indonesia Women and the semifinal against Bangladesh Women. Her leadership was instrumental in guiding India to the final, where Harmanpreet Kaur resumed captaincy duties.
Triumph in the Final Clash
The final showdown against Sri Lanka Women presented a daunting challenge for India Women as they aimed to defend a target of 117 runs. Despite the challenging batting conditions, Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues orchestrated a pivotal 73-run partnership, guiding India to a competitive total of 116/7 within the allotted overs.
The Indian bowlers displayed remarkable skill, restricting Sri Lanka to a score of 97/8 in their allotted 20 overs. As the final wicket fell, the Indian women’s cricket team celebrated a historic gold medal victory at the Asian Games 2023.
Tears of Triumph
Following the medal ceremony in Hangzhou, Smriti Mandhana revealed her deeply emotional response. In a video shared by ANI, she expressed, “This is very special. We have seen this on TV. When Neeraj Chopra won the gold, I had a match…The manner in which the national anthem was played and India’s national flag went up, I think it was pretty special, and I had tears in my eyes.”
Reflecting on the significance of the gold medal, Mandhana stated, “Really happy that we could contribute to the medal tally of the Indian contingent. Gold is Gold. Really happy that we gave our best today.”
Smriti Mandhana’s inspirational journey and the Indian women’s cricket team’s historic victory at the Asian Games 2023 not only add a glittering gold to India’s medal collection but also elevate the status of women’s cricket on the global stage. The emotional moment when the Indian flag soared high is a testament to the dedication and passion of players like Mandhana who continue to inspire countless aspiring cricketers.