Indian women fought hard and came close to becoming the first team to score against Australia but eventually fell short and lost 1-0 in the semi-final of the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Thursday.
They will now face England in a bronze medal play-off on Saturday.
Grace Stewart scored the only goal of the match in the 37th minute and though India pushed for an equaliser through out the fourth quarter the Australians successfully saw off the period to set up a summit clash against neighbours New Zealand.
(Read more: Follow all the updates on an action-packed day seven for India here.)
The 2002 Manchester Games gold medallists were aware of the enormity of their task when they took on Australia, who had not conceded a goal in the group stages. And knowing that it would be difficult to match the home team for the 60-minute duration with an aggressive approach, the Indians opted to defend.
They started brilliantly and put the Australians under pressure in the first five minutes. Skipper Rani Rampal had a golden opportunity to put the team ahead after being fed by Vandana Kataria in the second minute but her shot was too weak to trouble the Australian goalkeeper.
It was the Australians who dominated the entire half there after in terms of possession and circle penetration and even earned two penalty corners in the first two quarters.
But Indian custodian Savita was alert to any threat to her goal and credit has to be given to the Deepika and Deep Grace Ekka for thwarting a number of Australian moves before they managed to enter the striking circle.
Savita was once again the saviour two minutes into the second quarter when she dived to her right to stop Jane Claxton’s reverse hit from the top of the circle.
Australia continued to farm possession and most of the game was played in the Indian half. But the home team could not create any clear chance to score thanks to the Indians defending in numbers and making timely tackles.
The goal finally came in the 37th minute when Grace Stewart tapped in a volley after Savannah Fitzpatrick’s reverse hit from just inside the 25-yard-line found her inside the striking circle.
India, who had just one shot on goal in the first three quarters, finally began to push forward in the final quarter and earned three penalty corners in quick succession in the first four minutes but Gurjit Kaur could not beat the Australian runner.
India’s two best chances to find an equaliser came in the last three minutes of play but neither Navneet Kaur not Rani Rampal could convert.
Navneet tried to first control a cross from Monika but by the time she could get her stick down for a shot, Australian custodian Rachael Lynch had padded the ball away.
Rampal then did everything right to control a long pass from Vandana Kataria inside the Australian striking circle and beat the marker with a quick turn but her shot was slightly wide.
Nevertheless, it was a creditable performance from the Indian team that had lost to the Australians 6-1 in the Rio Olympics and the performance should give them enough confidence for the play-off against England, who they had beaten 2-1 in the group stage.
Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”
The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.
This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.
All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.
The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.
There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.
Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages.
Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.
But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.
“Nice girls don’t do that.”
“So I’m a bad girl.”
“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”
“Bad girls get in trouble.”
“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”
“What bad things?”
“Very bad things.”
A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.
This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with.
It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.
“Have some shame!”
“Oh for shame!”
“Do not bring shame upon…”
Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.
It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.
And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.
The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!
Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).
Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:
This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.