New Delhi: Rookie pacer Titas Sadhu singlehandedly earned a gold medal for the Indian women’s cricket team in its maiden appearance as it defeated Sri Lanka by 19 runs in a low-scoring final of the Asian Games here on Monday.
On a pitch difficult for batting, the Indian women’s team struggled to 116 for seven but it was just about par score.
However, Titas, who is just four days shy of her 19th birthday, bowled a devastating first spell and finished with superb figures of 4-1-6-3 to play a big role in restricting Sri Lanka to 97 for eight in 20 overs.
She had an able ally in leg-spinner Devika Vaidya (4-0-15-1), who kept a tight leash on the islanders.
Left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad (3-0-20-2) and off-spinner Deepti Sharma (4-0-25-1) started off badly but were on target during the back-end as Indian women always looked in complete control.
This was one gold medal that India were expected to win, but the standard of cricket was pretty poor, and the nature of wicket didn’t help matters.
The lanky Titas bowled quick and kept her deliveries on fuller length to get three wickets in her first two overs, including opposition skipper and their best batter Chamari Athapaththu (12).
The Indian women’s team is missing a genuine quick bowler in its ranks since the retirement of Jhulan Goswami and Titas looks to be a worthy successor. However, her wares would be proved once she is pitted against players of SENA countries.
Sensing the slow nature of the track, Indian skipper Harmanpreet Kaur started with off-spinner Sharma but the left-handed Athapaththu quickly went on the offensive with a slog swept six and a boundary off the very first over.
The skipper brought her frontline pacers back from the second over and Titas, playing only her second T20I, got Anushka Sanjeewani (1) to play a lofted drive without reaching to the pitch of the delivery. The simple catch at mid-off was taken by Harmanpreet.