India vs England: Three talking points from the first T20I

India vs England: Three talking points from the first T20I

After having clinched the three-match ODI series by 2-1 against England, India faced England in the first T20I at Guwahati where they lost by 41 runs. 

After having won the last ODI, England continued their good form in the 1st T20I match. From the first wicket partnership to restricting India within a below par, England were far better than India.

There was not only one point, but in every way, England dominated their counterpart – be it opener Tammy Beaumont’s blitzy half-century, captain Heather Knight’s quickfire 40 or bowlers’ economical spells.

With this convincing win, England took an unassailable lead of 1-0 in the three-match T20I series.

Let’s have a look at three talking points from the 1st T20I at Guwahati:

The opening partnership between Danielle Wyatt and Tammy Beaumont

Image Source – ECB

After having won in the toss, India elected to field. Put into bat, England managed only just 14 runs in the first three overs. But after that, it was all the batters’ show.

In the fourth over, both Danielle Wyatt and Tammy Beaumont started opening their arms, hit three boundaries to Deepti Sharma. The way Tammy Beaumont and Danielle Wyatt played the shots, were a treat to watch. They found the gaps with ease.

Their formidable form helped them to reach 50-run mark within seven overs. It became difficult for the India bowlers to get past them when both the batters got set at the crease. They both added 89-run together to provide a solid foundation for their team.

However, Shikha Pandey handed over the first breakthrough to India. Wyatt missed the back length delivery, nearly found the gap and hit over the cover. Mandhana did no mistake, moved to her right and grabbed a fantastic catch. She dismissed for 35 but till then she already did the damage in the bowling line up.

Heather Knight’s blitzy 40

Image Source – Sky Sports

Put into bat, England openers Danielle Wyatt and Tammy Beaumont made a solid foundation of 89 runs. However, Wyatt dismissed for 35 and soon Natalie Sciver too joined her in the dugout after scoring mere 4.

At that time, captain Heather Knight came to her side’s rescue and tried to steady the ship with Tammy Beaumont. She looked comfortable right from the start of her innings. Along with Beaumont, she added a 59-run.

However, India tried to their best and restricted England to 124 for 2 in 17 overs. But one over changed the game in England’s favour. In the 18th over, Knight hit Arundhati Reddy for five consecutive fours which guided England to score 160 after 20 overs.

Economical bowling from the bowlers

Image Source –

After having lost in the toss and put into bat, England had a good time with the bat. With the 89-run opening partnership and Heather Knight’s blitzy 40, they put up a decent competitive total of 160 on board.

In the second innings, it was on bowlers how they could perform and restrict India. However, they showed an impressive form. Like the last ODI, the veteran Katherine Brunt was the first one to give a breakthrough to her team as she picked up Harleen Deol for 8.

Though it was not a matter of tension, as the two best of the batters – Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues were on the crease. But it was Linsey Smith who left India into big trouble as she picked up the two big wickets of Mandhana and Rodrigues in her consecutive deliveries in the fourth over.

Two new batters – Mithali Raj and Veda Krishnamurthy were on the crease and before they could settle down properly, Mithali Raj got out by Kate Cross. Growing asking rate left no option except for big hitting and that led Mithali Raj’s dismissal in the 9th over. Veda Krishnamurthy was next to follow and India were reduced to 46-5 after the halfway mark.

Bowlers’ economical spell didn’t allow the batters to settle down on the crease for a long time. However, Deepti Sharma, Arundhati Reddy, and Shikha Pandey added 63 runs between them so that the chase went till the last over. But that was not enough for India to win and England claimed a thumping 41-run win over India.

The second T20I will be played at the same ground on Thursday, March 7.

Also Read: How England is shaping up for World Cup 2019?

BCCI are ready to run Women’s T20 exhibition matches during IPL 2019

BCCI are ready to run Women's T20 exhibition matches during IPL 2019

The BCCI is all set to organise Women’s T20 exhibition matches during the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2019). 

According to the ESPNCricinfo, the BCCI is going to repeat their action by arranging Women’s T20 exhibition matches during the IPL. Along with Indian players, overseas players will be featured too in the games. 

During the last year’s IPL, the BCCI had conducted one Women’s T20 exhibition match at the Wankhede Stadium on May 22 in Mumbai, but this year the board has decided that they will conduct more than one matches during that period.

The planning of starting these exhibition matches during the IPL has been going for a couple of months now. Though, a full-fledged league is not possible in India now as they don’t have depth in the domestic pool of players. However, Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) and Kia Super League (KSL) are pretty much popular in Australia and England respectively. Eight teams participate in WBBL while six teams play in KSL. India T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur, vice-captain Smriti Mandhana and Veda Krishnamurthy have been featured in these leagues already along with other overseas players.

Last year in Mumbai, two teams had played in the exhibition match – the IPL Supernovas and the IPL Trailblazers. Both the team comprised of overseas players along with Indian players. The match was an experiment of starting an IPL style Women’s T20 league in India.

Also Read: Indian women cricket Team played its 100th T20I

The match was a nail-biting one as the game went to the last ball and the match was televised by the board’s host broadcaster, Star Sports. Though there were not much crowd at the venue, because the game had started at 2 pm and it was on a weekday. Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana were the captains of the Supernovas and the Trailblazers respectively. Harmanpreet’s Supernovas registered the victory by three wickets.

New Zealand’s former captain Suzie Bates won the ‘Player of the Match’ award for her all-round performance, despite being on the losing side. The match also featured other celebrated overseas players including Australia captain Meg Lanning, all-rounder Ellyse Perry and the wicketkeeper-batter Alyssa Healy, England’s Danielle Wyatt and Danielle Hazell, and New Zealand all-rounder Sophie Devine and Lea Tahuhu.

The board, however, has decided to arrange a couple of matches this year as a follow-up to last year’s exhibition match. It is understood that this year there might be two teams too and the two teams will play a three-match series. However, it is expected that the teams might be composed of a maximum of four overseas players per side, similar to the men’s IPL.

BCCI is still waiting for the IPL schedule to be finalised as the date for the General Elections in India is yet to be announced. However, a proper plan is yet to be chalk out, though, both the BCCI and the Committee of Administrators (CoA) have approved the idea. It is expected that after the IPL schedule is out, the BCCI will plan accordingly.

Indian Women Cricket Team played it’s 100th T20I

Indian Women Cricket Team played it's 100th T20I

With the second Twenty20 International match on February 8, 2019, at Eden Park in Auckland against New Zealand, the Indian women cricket team has completed a century in Twenty20 International cricket. Unfortunately, Indian women lost their 100th T20I appearance after losing the second T20I against the hosts. 

Till date, Indian women cricket team have won 53 out of the 100 matches played so far and lost 45. They are currently in the Kiwi land playing the three-match T20I series. Although women in blue won the three-match ODI series against New Zealand 2-1, they failed to impress in the T20 version.

Indian women lost the first T20 match at Wellington. Smriti Mandhana’s blistering half-century couldn’t save the game. She bettered her own record of fastest fifty by an Indian by just one ball. She reached 50-mark off 24 deliveries. However, New Zealand pacer Lea Tahuhu’s magical spell won the match for the Kiwis. She managed three scalps off her four overs. On Friday the eves were determined to level the series. But with the toss, the match almost went to the Kiwis’ court. The White Ferns won the toss and elected to bat first. Thanks to Jemimah’s 72 Indian women could set a target of 135. Chasing 136 New Zealand showed absolute calmness. Suzie Bates scored 62 off 52 balls. Finally, they won the match and took the lead of 2-0 to win the series.

Also Read: Talking points of the 1st T20I

The eves hold a better record against the Kiwis compared to their male counterparts. So far they have won three out of nine matches against the hosts whereas the men’s team have won just two times out of eight matches. Indian women cricket team are the sixth team to achieve this milestone. The list has Australia, England, Pakistan, New Zealand, and West Indies in the top five to complete 100 T20I matches.

Mithali Raj, the veteran Indian player was left out the two T20 matches against the White Ferns. She in all likelihood will retire from T20 International after the home series against England. She will continue to lead the side in the 50-over format.

Mithali less India collapses against New Zealand despite Mandhana’s record fifty

Mithali less India collapses against New Zealand despite Mandhana's record fifty

From a winning position of 102 for 1 in the 12th over to bowled out for 136 in their chase of 159 in 20 overs, New Zealand registered a 23-run victory in the first T20I at Westpac Stadium, Wellington. 

Mithali Raj again found herself out of the playing XI after India’s tragic end in the semi-final of ICC World T20 2018 against England. Mithali has scored 51 and 56 in her last two outings. After India’s 23 runs lost, T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur said Raj’s exclusion was “only” to give more chances to the youngsters in the team, keeping the 2020 World Cup in mind.

“Well, we are just looking to give chance to young girls,” Harmanpreet said. “We only have these three overseas games and after that, we are playing in more Indian conditions and I think that’s the only reason we’re giving chances to the young girls.”

However, Kaur praised the bowlers for their efforts.

“Bowlers did really well as this track was really good to bat on. We still restricted them to 159. But in the last 10 overs we didn’t bat well,” Harmanpreet Kaur said. “We need to improve our batting in the last 10 overs. That is the area we are always struggling. We need someone who can give us a good strike-rate when we are finishing the innings.”

Talking points of the match:

Smriti Mandhana’s ravishing form:

Image Source – Dainik Bhaskar

India’s left-hand opener Smriti Mandhana has been in a great form for the last year. Having smashed centuries in South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia, she has become a trump card of India in overseas. While playing against New Zealand during the first T20I match, she broke her own record of smashing half-century in 25 balls. Today she took 24 balls, the fastest ever T20I half-century by an Indian in Women’s Cricket.

She never looked under pressure while facing Lea Tahuhu while others were struggling. India are over-dependent on Mandhana we can say now. She got dismissed after scoring 58 off 34 and felt that she should have batted till the end and she should be more careful with shot selection.

“Tactically, the best option according to me is that I bat all through. But we will have a discussion about this and I feel it is better that one of the top batters bat through till the 18th over or so so that after that the rest can rally around them,” Smriti Mandhana said after the match. “You have to pick the areas and go for the correct shots. And when we had the run rate under control, under seven, my shot was a bad one to play.”

Lack of partnership in the middle-order:

Image Source – The Week

India were flying high with the Mandhana-Rodrigues’ stormy innings. After Mithali Raj’s exclusion from the squad and Priya Punia made her debut, India were setting a core team for the next T20 World Cup in 2020. But Punia’s debut match didn’t go well as she fell for 4.

Soon, the situation got changed as Mandhana, along with Jemimah Rodrigues took the charge. Both started hitting all over the park. When they got their eyes in, it became difficult for the bowlers to get past them. Both added 98 runs for the second wicket and India reached 102 after 11.3 overs before Mandhana’s dismissal. Hannah Rowe took a well-judged catch at deep-cover and sent her in. Rodrigues was next to follow.

Apart from their innings and Harmanpreet Kaur’s 17 off 15, no other batter was able to reach the double-digit. In a chase of 160, India were bundled out within 136 as the middle and lower middle order batters were unable to carry the momentum till the end. Till the 12th over, the game was pretty much in India’s court as they were at 102/1 but a dismal batting performance under pressure from the middle and lower middle order caused their defeat.

“We were cruising till the 12th over, but in T20 there is always a chance of collapse and we have to be watchful from now on. I don’t think it’s a good idea to think much about the past and we will have to think about the next match,” said Mandhana.

At times, the team might felt the absence of experienced Mithali Raj; who has the ability to anchor the innings. Arguably one of the best batters in the world, Mithali, would have played the other way in the game.

Also Read: BCCI questioned Harmanpreet over fake Graduation degree

An all-round performance from New Zealand:

Image Source – Sky Sports

Though New Zealand lost their opener, Suzie Bates, very early, another opener Sophie Devine took the anchor’s role. The winning foundation made by her at first. She and Caitlin Gurrey added 36 runs before the later got out for 15.

Then Devine made a partnership with the captain Amy Satterthwaite. Both added 69 runs before Devine’s dismissal. Later Katey Martin ensured that the team went past 150 marks. Her two sixes and one boundary helped her team to reach 159 after 20 overs.

Later, bowlers did the rest of the job. Apart from Mandhana-Rodrigues pair, no other batter troubled White Ferns. Lea Tahuhu was the most successful bowler and ended up taking three wickets for 20. Leigh Kasperek and Amelia Kerr bagged two wickets each while the other bowlers scalped one each. Seven of the last eight batters got dismissed within 33 runs.

With this win, White Ferns have taken an unassailable 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series. Both the teams will face each other on Friday, February 6th.

Smriti Mandhana tops the chart of ICC ODI batting rankings

Smriti Mandhana tops the chart of ICC ODI batting rankings

India’s left-hand opener Smriti Mandhana has topped the chart of ICC ODI Batting Rankings after scoring a blistering century and a blitz 90* in the three-match ODI series in New Zealand. 

Smriti Mandhana, who surpassed Australia all-rounder Ellyse Perry, has moved up three spots in the ODI Batters’ Rankings to reach the no. 1 spot. After scoring the fourth ODI century in the first match of the three-match ODI series, Mandhana also became the first Indian as well as the second woman cricketer to score centuries in South Africa-England-New Zealand-Australia. 

Mandhana, who has been in an impressive form, has scored two centuries and eight half-centuries in 15 matches since the beginning of the last year, 2018. She became India’s one of the most dependable batters as well as the trump card for the overseas. Australia all-rounder Ellyse Perry and captain Meg Lanning slipped at the second and the third position respectively.

White Ferns’ captain Amy Satterthwaite, who scored two half-centuries in the recently concluded ODI series against India has jumped to 10 spots up in the rankings and moved to the fourth spot; while her counterpart, the ODI captain of Mithali Raj; who recently played her 200 ODI match, has slipped a spot and currently placed at No 5.

Satterthwaite has scored four half-centuries in her last 10 ODIs while Mithali Raj, too has been in a good form and scored her 52nd ODI half-century against White Ferns.

After having scored a half-century in Hamilton, Former New Zealand captain and one of the best batters of all time, Suzie Bates, who smashed a half-century in the third ODI against India, has moved one place up and currently stays at the fifth spot.

Also read: Smriti Mandhana becomes India’s trump card in overseas

Lizelle Lee of South Africa has dropped down two places and placed at the seventh spot. Tammy Beaumont of England too has moved down two places to No. 8 while Windies captain Stafanie Taylor and Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapaththu both have dropped down by one spot each and completed the top 10 ranking chart.

Jemimah Rodrigues, the batting sensation of India; who have opened the innings for India with another star batter Smriti Mandhana, has scored a half-century in the first ODI against New Zealand in Napier; which helped her to a huge rise in the ranking of 64 places. She now sits at No. 61 in the rankings and she has played just seven ODIs after making her debut in March last year against Australia.

In the bowler’s rankings, India’s pace spearhead Jhulan Goswami has performed really well against New Zealand. She has moved a spot above to No. 4 for her 3/23 in the second match against the Kiwi. Former Pakistan captain Sana Mir, Australia’s speedster Megan Schutt and South Africa all-rounder Marizanne Kapp are placed above Jhulan Goswami in the list.

India’s spin troika Ekta Bisht, Poonam Yadav, and Deepti Sharma have gained five spots each in the chart. Poonam and Deepti have entered the top ten list in the rankings and placed in the eighth and ninth place respectively. Left-arm spinner Ekta Bisht too moved up nine places to No 13 after scalping five wickets in the series against New Zealand.

Lea Tahuhu, the pacer of New Zealand, has bagged four wickets in the series against India and jumped nine places up to No. 16 in the ODI bowling rankings. Anna Peterson, who picked up five wickets in the three matches, had a notable rise of 13 spots and currently placed at No. 45 in the rankings.

There was nearly no change among the all-rounders. Ellyse Perry of Australia is still the No. 1 among the all-rounders’. White Ferns all-rounder Sophie Devine jumped up to one place to No. 9 which means Windies all-rounder Deandra Dottin has moved down to No. 10. Apart from that, there was no change in the top 10 all-rounders’ chart.

Harmanpreet, Mandhana back Powar to continue as a coach

Harmanpreet, Mandhana back Powar to continue as a coach

Mithali Raj-Ramesh Powar controversy took another turn when India T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur and her deputy Smriti Mandhana backed Ramesh Powar to continue as a coach despite the differences between veteran Mithali Raj and Ramesh Powar. 

The public spat started after dropping Mithali Raj in the semi-final against Australia where India lost the game by eight wickets. Where everyone supported Mithali Raj in this controversy, Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana wrote to BCCI and CoA in support of Ramesh Powar.

After Tushar Arothe’s sudden left, Ramesh Powar was given a three-month contract, till the end of November. Under Powar, India won both the ODI and T20I series in Sri Lanka and topped their group in the World T20. It was India’s first semifinal appearance in World T20 after eight long years.

Having backed Powar, Harmanpreet wrote, “I, as the T20 captain and ODI vice-captain is appealing before you to allow Powar to further continue as our team coach. There are hardly 15 months for the next T20 World Cup and a month to go for the New Zealand tour. The way he has transformed us into a team, I feel no reason to replace him.”

“Our defeat in the semi-finals was very disheartening and it brings us all to feel more miserable to see how the controversies has stained our image and questioned the entire cricket fraternity,” Harmanpreet added. “Sir Ramesh Powar not only improved us as players but did motivate us to set targets and challenge our own limits. He has changed the face of Indian women’s cricket team both technically and strategically. He has inculcated in us the sense of winning.”

She also wrote that dropping Mithali Raj was a decision taken by the team management. “With regard to the exclusion of Mithali Raj, sir Ramesh Powar was not single-handedly responsible. The decision was entirely based on the cricketing logic and observations from the past.”

“Keeping in mind the need of the hour where me, Smriti, the selector (Sudha Shah) and the coach together in the presence of our manager felt that we should go ahead with the winning combination. And I believe it should have come to your understanding that the intent was not personal but entirely based for the welfare of the team.”

Harmanpreet added that a new change at this time could hamper the team’s growth. “Another change of coach will affect our growth and we will have to start from the scratch. And whatever may be the reason for Ramesh sir’s and Mithali Raj’s conflicts, they should solve it across the table like a family and call it a truce. This will provide more sense and security to them and the entire team.”

Smriti Mandhana too supported Harmanpreet Kaur in this, said Powar helped them to become a better cricketer. “Since the introduction of Powar, he along with the support staff has boosted our confidence as a team which has helped us win 14 consecutive T20 matches. He changed the intent of the players and gave everyone confidence,” Mandhana wrote in her report.

The last date for applying for the coach’s job will end on December 14. The BCCI is looking for a candidate to fill the vacancy whereas Kaur and Mandhana have already reached Australia to play in the Women’s Big Bash League.

5 standout players in the Women’s WT20

5 standout players in the Women's WT20



⚬ The Women’s WT20 ended with Australia clinching the title


⚬ Alyssa Healy was adjudged the Player of the Tournament


⚬ The bowlers had a field time in the tournament in West Indies, but some batters left their mark as well.

With 270 wickets falling over 22 games, the recently-concluded Women’s World T20 was a memorable tournament, especially for the bowlers. However, there were some standout moments too with the bat, and here are the five players who left their mark in the tournament.


Alyssa Healy – Australia

The Player of the Tournament amassed 225 runs and was crucial to her side’s charge to the crown. She scored 225 runs at an impressive strike-rate of 14/23 and was the Player of the Match in 4 of the 5 games she batted in.

Healy started the tournament with a bang, scoring 48 off 29 deliveries against Pakistan and continued in the next game against Ireland as well, scoring 56 in 31 balls. She took the responsibility on a two-paced wicket at Antigua in the semis as well, scoring a cautious 38-ball 46 to help Australia pip Windies in the top-four.


Harmanpreet Kaur – India

The Indian started the tournament with a bang, scoring 193 in just 51 deliveries against New Zealand. Though Harman was unable to score many runs after that, she looked at ease and got starts, but perished while looking to up the ante. Against Australia, she managed to score a cautious-yet-aggressive 43 in 27 deliveries and looked to steady the ship in the semis against England as well, but the lack of support meant that she was the lone player fighting.


Natalie Sciver – England

Bowling around the 70mph-mark, Natalie Sciver took on the responsibility of leading England’s pace attack in the absence of Katherine Brunt. With a new action, she made a mark almost immediately as she ended with figures of 1 for 7 against Bangladesh. In the next game, against South Africa, Sciver ended with 4-1-4-3 and though she was unable to pick a wicket henceforth, she bowled economically and was effective.

In the semis against India, the all-rounder shone with the bat, taking her side across the line with an unbeaten 52 in what was a tricky run-chase.


Deandra Dottin – West Indies

Dottin started off with an electrifying spell of 5 for 5 against Bangladesh and ended with 10 wickets from 5 matches. She bowled with an economy rate of 5.63 and was the standout bowler in the league stages. She was in form with the bat as well, scoring 49 in 35 deliveries against Sri Lanka and then following it up with 46 against the English side. The West Indian can be termed as the ‘all-rounder of the WT20’ as well.


Ashleigh Gardner – Australia

Gardner displayed maturity and kept her nerves under pressure in the finals to help her side clinch the WT20. Gardner ended with figures of 3 for 22 with the ball, thus taking her wickets tally to 10 in the tournament, and then returned with the bat against England, scoring 33 in a tricky run-chase on a tough wicket. Her all-around efforts in a crucial game see her pip premier all-rounder Ellyse Perry, who took 9 wickets in the tournament, for a spot in this list.

Positives for India from the Women’s WT20 campaign

Positives for India from the Women's WT20 campaign

Amid controversial circumstances – revolving India’s decision to not play Mithali Raj in the semis of the WT20 – the Harmanpreet Kaur-led side bowed out of the tournament with an embarrassing defeat against the English side.

After performing beyond expectations to finish as group-toppers, India faced their sternest test yet when they faced England in the top-four. Playing at Antigua, a venue known for its two-paced wicket, the Indian side chose to bat first after winning the toss. However, things hardly went to plan as the Indian team failed to get into the game, managing only 112 in their innings. The chase hardly seemed to trouble the opponents as they raced away with 8 wickets to spare.

However, one off-day can in no way negate the exceptional work that the side pitched in throughout the tourney. Here’s looking at the positives for the Indian Women’s Team from the World T20.


The spinners emerge as reliable match-winners

Right throughout the tournament, it was the Indian spinners who led the way, picking constant wickets and stalling the flow of runs throughout the innings. Such was their dominance in the series against Sri Lanka leading up to the World Cup, that coach Ramesh Powar decided to play with four front-line spinners in the team and one pacer, and little did they disappoint.

The spinners scalped 8 of the 9 wickets that fell in the first game against New Zealand, took 5 of the 6 wickets against Pakistan, grabbed all 7 Irish batters in the next game, and continued with their good form against the mighty Australians too, picking up all 10 wickets in the last league game. Not only did the bowl economically, but they also put the nerves of the big-stage behind them as they continued cramping up the rivals for the room. Though they erred in their lines against England, there is no overlooking the fact that the spinners have been the biggest positives for India.


The maturity of Jemimah Rodrigues

Ever since the 18-year-old announced herself with a knock of 43 against the South Africans earlier this year, the cricketing realm has been excited about the arrival of Jemimah Rodrigues. She is technically sound, has great temperament and rarely gets hassled while on the field. In the first game of the tournament, she came together with Harmanpreet to anchor the innings after India had been rocked by early wickets. She kept rotating the strike, giving the opportunity to her skipper to strike big. Her assured knock of 59 was overshadowed by Harman’s blistering ton, but it played a crucial role in the context of the game.

Though Rodrigues was unable to score another fifty, she did manage some important knocks, and even tried to steady the innings with a solid 26 against England, before she was run-out.


Mandhana and Harmanpreet, the senior pros, act as guides

With the average age of the Indian side just 24, it was imperative that the experienced pros in the line-up rise to the occasion and make it a tournament to remember for the side. With the Indian batting looking inconsistent, Mithali, Mandhana, and Harmanpreet took up the responsibility of being the leaders of the batting unit, either closing off games or ensuring that a solid foundation had been laid in the powerplay overs.

Led by Harman’s hundred, Mandhana too got into her groove with some convincing starts, which we saw even in the semis, while Mithali scored two fifties and finished off games against Pakistan and Ireland. With such solid players in the side, the young Indian unit would have surely benefited from the experience of the trio.


Immature batting sees India ousted from the semis of the Women’s WT20

Immature batting sees India ousted from the semis of the Women's WT20

The undefeated Indian side faced off against England in the semi-finals of the Women’s WT20, in a bid to remove the scars of the finals defeat that the English team had inflicted on them last year in the 50-over tournament.

On a slow track that gripped, the India team, playing without Mithali Raj, folded up for just 112 runs after the batters committed hara-kiri in the second part of their innings. After opting to bat, Smriti Mandhana set the tone with a blistering 23-ball 34 and a lot was expected from the other players once she had taken India past 40 in the first six overs. She timed the balls to perfection and played with the turn, but it was all downhill for the side once she was dismissed.

Taniya Bhatia was sent back soon after, but a solid partnership between skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and teenager Jemimah Rodrigues took the score to 89 for 2 in the 14th over. Just when it seemed that India could get to at least 130 on a two-paced track, run-outs and ill-advised shots, where the Indians kept dancing down the track instead of playing within the crease, ensured that the side could manage just 23 more runs, getting bowled out for 112.

A lot was then expected from the Indian slow bowlers, who had stood up to perform exceptionally in the league games. With two early wickets and with the score reading 30 for 2 after the first 6 overs, India were on course to make a match of the low-scoring encounter, but Natalie Sciver and Amy Jones ensured no further casualties as they raced away to the target.

Both players showed the Indians how to bat on a tough surface, expertly putting the bad deliveries away, taking quick singles and making the most of the short balls that were bowled by the Indian tweakers. In the end, England comfortably won with 8 wickets and 17 balls to spare.

The tactical blunder of leaving out Mithali turned to haunt the Indians, who are left with a lot of areas to improve upon.

India march on to the semis of Women’s World T20 undefeated

India march on to the semis of Women's World T20 undefeated

While India had looked patchy, the Australian Women’s T20I team appeared formidable and were the team to beat in the Women’s T20 Cup.

However, by defeating the Meg Lanning side by 48 runs in the last game of Group B, which ensured that they finished unbeaten in the first stage of the event, the Indian Eves go into the semis with a lot of confidence and momentum.

The win was led by opener Smriti Mandhana, who struck a fluent 83, Harmanpreet Kaur’s 43 – which helped India get to 167 – and the wily spin of Anuja Patil, playing her first game in the tournament. The Aussies were bowled out for just 119 runs.

In the absence of unwell Mithali Raj, Mandhana led India’s charge. Though Taniya Bhatia and Jemimah Rodrigues fell successively, the left-hander kept her end up while striking some classy boundaries in the powerplay overs. The first six overs fetched India 46 runs, as Mandhana raced away to 37 runs in just 22 balls.

She was aptly supported by Harmanpreet, who started off from where she had left off against New Zealand. She raced away to 43 off just 27 balls, with three lofted sixes, and as many boundaries. The crucial partnership meant that the middle-order woes that had come to haunt the Indian side in their last clash against Ireland were eradicated, as India put on a competitive total on the board. The team though was well on course for a score of 180, but Elysse Perry scalped three wickets in the end, which stalled the run-flow, even if just a wee bit.

Australia began the tricky run-chase without wicket-keeper Alyssa Healy, who had collided with Megan Schutt and suffered a concussion in India’s penultimate over. However, Beth Mooney ensured that her absence was hardly missed at the top as she scored 27 in the first 24 deliveries.

But, once India’s spinners got into the fray, all hopes of an Aussie win evaporated as Deepti Sharma, first and then Patil restricted the flow of runs, building pressure in the middle overs. After Deepti had both the openers off consecutive deliveries, the Aussie innings lost the momentum and they could hardly recuperate henceforth.

By the half-way mark, Australia were tottering at 56 for 4, and though Perry fought till the very end, her valiant efforts were not enough to stop a rampaging India to register their fourth win in the tourney.

Brief scores: India 167/8 (Smriti Mandhana 83, Harmanpreet Kaur 43; Ellyse Perry 3-16) beat Australia 119 (Ellyse Perry 39*; Anuja Patil 3-15) by 48 runs.