Hard-hitting wicketkeeper-batter Richa Ghosh came back to international cricket with a bang on Thursday. She smashed three fours and a six in overall 19 runs for India in the final over of their first Asian Games 2023 Qualifier against Malaysia.
She came to bat at 143/2 in the shortened 15-over match. The platform was already set for her to explode. Richa took a few singles in the 14th over before taking on leg spinner Mas Elysa, who bowled a lot of tossed-up deliveries.
Richa muscled the first two balls to the deep mid-wicket region for the first four and six and she timed the ball in the gaps for the next two boundaries. Her cameo took India's total to a massive 173/2 in 15 overs.
You can get a glimpse of her knock at the end of the following video:
This only served as a reminder of how surprising the selectors' decision to drop her for the three-ODI series against Bangladesh in July which ended level at 1-1. Richa hadn't done a lot wrong before that series and in low-scoring thrillers. India could have used one of their rare true finishers in white-ball cricket.
Richa Ghosh's knock was set up by Jemimah Rodrigues and Shafali Varma
Richa Ghosh's last-over assault was preceded by a near-complete top-order performance from India. Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Varma gave a good start, with the former doing most of the hitting as the latter struggled for timing.
Mandhana, leading the side in Harmanpreet Kaur's absence, once again got out to an off-spinner, Mahirah Ismail, for 27. A rain break followed and Varma found her timing after it. She hit five sixes and four boundaries on her way to 67 (39).
Jemimah Rodrigues was more than brilliant from the other end. She batted at a faster clip than usual, hitting 47 (29). She rarely played a dot ball and either gave the strike to Shafali or took on a loose delivery to hit six boundaries.
India didn't get a chance to bowl a lot, though, as rain interrupted again after just two deliveries, and the match was called off. India proceeded to the semi-finals because of their higher seeding.