Guangzhou: Hosts China crushed Malaysia by 55 runs with a powerful all-round team display in the first official cricket match ever staged on Chinese soil on Saturday.
China scored 116 for 6 in their 20 overs in the Asian Games women's match after winning the toss and electing to bat.
Malaysia never threatened to reach their target in front of a disappointingly sparse crowd at the 4,800-capacity Guanggong Cricket Stadium.
The Chinese lost two early wickets with only seven runs on the board but steadied their innings through Sun Huan, who scored a quickfire 47 off 49 balls, including three boundaries.
In a late flurry, captain Wang Meng hit 13 runs off 13 balls. Sloppy bowling from Malaysia contributed to 21 extras in the innings, including 17 wides.
Malaysia were soon in deep trouble in reply, three wickets down with only 12 on the board, and they never looked like scoring quickly enough to get anywhere near their target.
China kept a tight grip with disciplined bowling and energetic fielding, with Mei Chunhua the pick of the bowlers with three wickets for just eight runs in her four overs as Malaysia struggled to a total of 61 for eight.
Chinese skipper Wang, who said she had been playing the game for three years, said she was nervous due to the unique nature of the event, also the first time cricket has featured in the Asian Games. "I don't know how far we will go in the competition but we will try our best to win," she said.
Malaysian captain Nur Aishah said she was shocked by how strong China were in all departments of the game. "China have improved a lot," she said. The other teams in Group A are Pakistan and Thailand with Group B featuring Nepal, Japan, Bangladesh and Hong Kong. There was only a small crowd at the stadium, despite officials claiming earlier this week that all tickets for the women's cricket tournament had sold out.
Cricket's induction at the Asian Games came after the International Cricket Council identified China as one of the major new markets along with the United States for the development of the sport. Cricket was last seen at a major multi-sport event at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, but was dropped for the next three editions in England, Australia and India.
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