The Indian women’s cricket team stars were there to support the Indian men’s football team during the Asian Games 2023.
Indian women’s cricket team stars Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues were there to cheer the Indian men’s football team as they faced China in the opening match of their Asian Games campaign. In a video posted on Mandhana’s account, Jemimah and Harmanpreet could be seen cheering at the stadium and she even showed the game on the giant screen. India lost 1-5 to China but that could dampen the support shown by the Indian supporters. The Indian women’s cricket team will start their campaign in the quarterfinal match against Malaysia on Thursday.
A severely-fatigued and under-prepared Indian team got a rude reality check with hosts China out-muscling them 1-5 in an opening group league encounter of the Asian Games football competition.
Giao Tianyi (17th min), Dai Weijun (51st min), Tao Qianglong (72nd and 75th minute) and Hao Fang (90 2) scored for the hosts, while Rahul KP’s (45 1 minute) equaliser from an acute angle was possibly the best strike of the match.
It was heartening to see a third-string team holding the title contenders on an even keel during the first 45 minutes, which saw Indian custodian Gurmeet Singh Chahal valiantly save a spot-kick taken by rival captain Zhu Chenjie.
India now need to beat Bangladesh and Myanmar in their remaining two games to qualify for the second round. Myanmar beat Bangladesh 4-2 in another game in this group.
Having reached the Games Village late on Monday evening, the third-string Indian team, with not even four specialist defenders in their ranks, didn’t have enough co-ordination amongst themselves. They looked jet-lagged, not rested enough and there was no way that there could have been a miracle.