India had a fairly impressive opening day at the Commonwealth Games 2022 despite not picking up a medal in Birmingham on Friday, July 29. It was the first time since 2002 that India failed to bag a medal on the opening day of the Games.
However, there were plenty of positive results emerging out of the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham but one of the major disappointments on the opening day was the India defeat to powerhouses Australia in the first-ever women’s cricket match in Commonwealth Games’ history.
Harmanpreet Kaur’s girls came close to scripting history as they were nearly pulled off an upset against T20 World Cup champions Australia in the Group A match at the Edgbaston cricket ground in Birmingham. However, Australia flaunted their batting depth to recover from 49 for 5 and chase down 155 with an over to spare.
Harmanrpeet Kaur’s historic fifty and a stunning new-ball burst from Renuka Singh Thakur (4/18) was not enough as India failed to defend a 154-run total.
Australia recovered from 5 for 49 to chase down 155 with an over to spare as they rode on a counter-attacking fifty from Ash Gardener and a 20-ball 37 from Grace Harris. Alana King remained unbeaten on 18 from 16 balls as Australia got the first ever points in women’s cricket in Commonwealth Games.
21-year-old Indian swimmer Srihari Nataraj made it to the final of the men’s 100m backstroke. Nataraj qualified after finishing 4th in the semi-final Heat 2, 7th overall among the 8 qualifiers with a timing of 54.55s.
Screengrab from Birmingham 2022 website
Srihari Nataraj has a personal best of 53.77s and the young swimmer from Bengaluru will be looking to get closer to the mark and finish on the podium. India have so far only won one bronze in swimming in Commonwealth Games.
Nataraj will be in action in the men’s 100m backstroke final on Sunday, July 31 (1:35 am IST).
India’s men and women’s teams, both defending champions in the team table tennis events, began their title defence on a strong note. While the men hammered Barbados before outclassing Singapore in the first two group-stage matches, the women’s team, led by a dominant Manika Batra.
Senior campaigner Achantha Sharath Kamal led from the front and helped India outclass Singapore 3-0. The scoreboard might suggest a dominant win for India but the tie was far from easy, giving the well-rounded team a good test in the group stages.
Manika and Sreeja Akula were in fine form as the women defeated Fiji and South Africa in their two group-stage ties on the opening day of the CWG 2022.
ANAHAT, 14, STARTS WELL
India’s youngest representative in the history of the Commonwealth Games, Anahat Singh showed signs of what is to come in the future by winning her women’s singles squash first-round match in a dominant manner.
Anahat sealed a 11-5, 11-0, 11-2 win over Jada Ross St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Anahat who is looking to learn from the Birmingham 2022 experience has already won 50 titles including the US Junior Open, the British, German and Dutch Junior Opens and Asian Championship. The teenager is looking to make the most of her experience at the Commonwealth Games.
India’s Abhay Singh also won his Round of 64 match in men’s singles category.
Indian women’s hockey team started off their Commonwealth Games campaign on a bittersweet note as they defeated Ghana 5-0. However, it should have been more comprehensive against a lower-ranked team.
Gurjit Kaur, Sangita Kumari, Salima Tete and Neha were among the scoresheet as India attempted a total of 28 shots in the game. The women in blue made merry over the shoddy defence of Ghana, who looked confused on the day.
India could have made it more difficult for Ghana but they were wasteful. Penalty corner conversion also continued to haunt India as they made use of just one out of 10 chances.
INDIA HAMMER PAKISTAN IN BADMINTON
India’s mixed badminton team, which won the gold medal in Gold Coast in 2018, came up with a stunning start, beating Pakistan 5-0.
PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth, playing singles matches, were at their dominant best beating Murad Ali and Mahoor Shahzad, respectively. India took a decisive lead of 3-0 but they carried on to play the last two matches and made it 5-0.
Screengrab from Birmingham 2022 website
India are now on top of Group A which also has Australia and Sri Lanka.
Indian boxer Shiva Thapa kickstarted his Commonwealth Games campaign by defeating Pakistan’s Suleman Baloch in the first round of the 63kg category in Birmingham on Friday. The 28-year-old Thapa hardly broke a sweat as he registered a comprehensive 5-0 win over Baloch to move to the pre-quarterfinals of the light welterweight.
Woman singles player Tania Choudhary and men’s triples team suffered twin losses each on the opening day of lawn bowl competitions in the Commonwealth Games here on Friday. The Indian men’s team of Chandan Kumar Singh (skip) Navneet Singh (lead) and Mridul Borgohain (second) lost 6-23 to New Zealand in their first game. They then suffered 12-19 defeat at the hands of Scotland in the second game (WITH PTI INPUTS).
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