The women in blue started off their campaign with little experience in the Caribbean and going to the World Cup with a recently concluded series in Sri Lanka where the girls displayed some brilliant character on the field white-washing Sri Lanka at their home, 4-0. However, in the shortest format of the game, India’s performance has not been that impressive, at home they could not make it to the finals of Tri Series between India, Australia and England followed by a shocking loss to Bangladesh in the Asia Cup. But the women in blue were never the ones who could be easily written off and it was time for a classic comeback at the greatest stage of competition- THE ICC WOMEN’S WORLD TWENTY20.
The women in blue kicked off their campaign with a blistering win against the Kiwis in the opening encounter of the World Twenty20 in the opening game. When the Indian openers failed to establish a good opening stand, it was the captain Harmanpreet Kaur and the young blade of Jemimah Rodrigues that did the talking for the Indian side. Sheer dominance from the Indian cricket team as they registered a 34 run victory. Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav, Arundhati Reddy and the surprise package- the debutant Dayalan Hemalatha made sure the bowling department does not disappoint at all. The next contest played with the arch rivals- Pakistan reflected the very impressive economy rate with which the Indian bowlers can dominate the opposition. Registering a 7 wicket win over the women in green. However, there were some blemishes on the field which if avoided could have restricted Pakistan on an even lower score. There were 134 to chase and this time it was India’s most celebrated and experienced cricketer who lead from the front- Mithali Raj. Then came the third match for the women in blue against the Irish women where India was to bat first and yet again it was Mithali Raj and Smriti Mandhana who came to the party, putting up a total of 145-6 on the board. The Irish team collapsed to a meagre total of 93-8. And yet again the ones to strike were Radha Yadav, Deepti Sharma, Poonam Yadav and the skipper herself. The Indians won the game by 52 runs dancing their way into the Semis like a boss! After securing a spot in the semi finals after the Southern Stars, it was time for one of the most awaited matches of the tournament. It was time for INDIA VS AUSTRALIA.
India, with the likes of players like Harmanpreet Kaur, Mithali Raj, Smriti Mandhana and a bowling unit that carries the ability to shatter the opposition’s batting with the likes of Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav and Arundhati Reddy was all set for this contest against the best fielding side in women’s cricket with the balance of Elysse Perry, Alyssa Healy, Meg Lanning and some serious bowling dominance of Delissa Kimmince and Schutt. It was a real test of both sides competing against each other. But as a result the women in blue came out as the winners this time reflecting an overall brilliant performance in each department. Registering a win by 48 runs, the women in blue finished on the top of the group B.
Road to Semi-Final
The road to the semi finals for India was never easy but they have truly showed some character on the field which has brought them this near to the ultimate title. The Indians have been brilliant with the batting especially the top order, however it is time for Veda Krishnamurthy to step up as it would strengthen the batting much more and also the consistency of Kaur, Mandhana and Mithali Raj being the key here. The bowling department has been a real spot on. Radha Yadav and Dayalan Hemalatha have come as a shock more than a surprise for the opposition and the experience of Poonam Yadav along with some serious bowling from Arundhati Reddy is certainly doing the talking here for the women in Blue. However, there are a couple of areas where these group toppers need to work on. One is the opening balance and the importance to establish a good opening stand. With Mithali’s injury being a concern, Bhatia needs to stand up here. Secondly, the fielders needs to work a lot harder and make sure the extra runs are not leaked. After all, every run matters!
It would not be wrong to say that India will be the favorites for the championship as they have come with all guns blazing and just some improvement in these couple areas and they would be invincible. India certainly look so dominating after defeating the Aussies and the Indian Fans would be pretty confident about the cup coming home. But obviously, the semis will be about competing with the best of the competition- The Aussies, England and the Defending Champions, The Windies. But again as mentioned, the best of the competition and India is one of them! So to the Indian cricket fans, there is hardly any chance of disappointment!
Team Female Cricket wishes all the four teams All the very Best for the Semi- Finals and the championship ahead.
The 22 Yard stretch that molded me, is what I hold sacred. A cricketer weaving life’s innings into words. A Rohit Sharma Admirer always. I believe writing and cricket aren’t passions, but ways of life, so truly living the dream!