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.