India worthy finalists but Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur fail to live up to ‘seniors’ tagMarch 9, 2020
In the lead up to Women’s T20 World Cup, India women’s team captain Harmanpreet Kaur underlined what India needed Down Under to end their long wait for an ICC title.
“If you want to win a big tournament like the World Cup, you have to come up as a team,” Harmanpreet Kaur had said.
That’s exactly what India failed to do in the big final against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday. In fact, despite the unbeaten run in the group stages of the tournament, India’s wins have revolved around individual brilliance. As a group, India failed to come to the party in Australia.
At the forefront of it are the failures of captain Harmanpreet Kaur and vice-captain Smriti Mandhana.
India were the youngest team at the Women’s T20 World Cup with 4 teenagers in their side. There was fearless cricket on display throughout the group stages of the tournament. From beating Australia on the opening night to taking out New Zealand, India did manage to top what seemed a tough Group A.
When Alyssa Healy stepped out to hit Deepti Sharma to the boundary of the very 1st ball of the final on Sunday, Australia’s intentions were clear. An opening stand of 115 between Healy and Beth Mooney — two of their established stars boxed India out of the contest.
In front of a record 85,000-strong crowd, Australia’s big gun fired with the bat. India’s experienced batters did not.
It is safe to say the senior batters in the Indian side did put more pressure on the bowling department which shone more often than not.
In the tournament opener, India managed just 132 in 20 overs. Thanks to a magnificent spell of leg-spin bowling from Poonam Yadav, India outfoxed Australia by 17 runs. Against New Zealand, India managed only 133 in 20 overs. Once again, it was their spinners who did the trick and sealed a crucial 3-run win.
Even in the final, India managed to pull things back with the ball after the blazing stand between Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney. Australia were looking good to post a total in excess of 200 when the two openers were toying around with the bowling attack. However, the bowling unit stepped up and kept Australia to 184.
265 T20I matches between them, 133 runs at T20 World Cup: The big batting failure
In the big final, Shafali Verma suffered a rare failure. And when India needed their seniors to step up and deliver, they failed big time.