The Indian Women’s Cricket team bowed out of the WT20 in the semi-finals, losing to England by 8 wickets.


After the spinners and the senior stars Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur and Mithali Raj helped guide India to the top-four, an all-round effort was needed in the semi-final clash against England at Antigua. However, with the side failing to come together as a unit and with inexperience costing them, they were ousted and returned home with a number of departments that still need major improvement.

The areas where the Indian Women’s team still need to improve are listed below.

 

Improvement in ground fielding

Often, the Indian side was guilty of dropping easy catches in crucial moments of the game. While the bowlers did their job to perfection, stalling the flow of runs, the fielders undid their good work more often than not, spilling easy chances and missing easy run-out chances. The fielding was at an all-time low in the clash against Pakistan, where India dropped as many as 4 catches. Even in the semis against England, after they had piled on just 112 on the board, the fielding unit needed to be on top of their game, but the inability to stop the tight singles ensured that England were never really in trouble. For India to become a more dominant side, they will need to increase their fielding standards drastically.

The inconsistent batting-order

Other than Mandhana, Mithali, Harmanpreet, and to an extent Jemimah Rodrigues, the batting unit just failed to gel together as a unit. Taniya Bhatia, who had a phenomenal series against Sri Lanka before the WT20 was pushed to open due to her exploits early on, but she not only consumed considerable deliveries when she was pushed to open but also looked ill at ease against the spinners and pacers alike. A lot was expected from her in the semis after Mithali was dropped, but Bhatia failed to create any impact whatsoever.

Veda Krishnamurthy was yet another let-down. The star player only managed 24 runs in 5 innings, and it was baffling to see Mithali being dropped in the semis while Veda held on to her place. Hence, the over-reliance on the three stalwarts was not unnoticed and playing sans them will remain the biggest challenge for the unit.

 

The captaincy blunders

All the blunders that the Indian side committed were with regards to Mithali in the tournament. In the first game of the tournament, Harmanpreet decided to open with Taniya instead of the senior pro – in a move that was heavily criticized. With Mithali needing deliveries to settle down, the ideal spot for her was at the top of the order. By pushing her down, the side gambled with the batting order, but with Harmanpreet scoring a blazing ton, and India recording above 190 runs, the potential blunder was averted.

However, it came to affect the side in the semis against England, as the management dropped the most experienced member for the all-important clash. Considering India’s inexperience in pressure games, and the batters’ inconsistent form till then, Mithali, who had scored two fifties in the tournament, was expected to don a crucial role in the line-up.

With the two-paced track sending the Indian batswomen into a dizzy, Mithali’s presence in the side could have gone a long way in controlling the nerves.

 

Inexperience and inability to handle pressure

Both batters and bowlers failed to keep their nerves and erred in the technical aspect of the game in the semis. While the batters should have played the slower delivery on the back-foot in the first innings, the Indians spinners should have mixed their lengths. Instead, they stuck to bowling around the middle length, which allowed Natalie Sciver to play on the back-foot. These rookie errors, a result of inexperience, cost India the tournament.

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