1 Year Anniversary – Poonam Yadav spun a web to steer India to Win T20 World Cup Opener

No Indian women’s cricket team fan can ever forget the 2020 ICC World Twenty20 held in February – March last year. India had a dream start to the mega event by winning back-to-back matches and remaining unbeaten for the entirety of the tournament only for the law of averages to kick in when it really mattered the most.

 

Poonam Yadav caught celebrating wickets
Poonam Yadav caught celebrating wickets. Pic Credits: ICC

 

On this day in 2020, India kickstarted the tournament against powerhouses Australia. While India was not a team to be taken lightly, Australia was the renowned world-beaters who brought out their best performances during World Cups. After all, it is not by fluke that they have 5 T20 titles and 6 ODI World Cup titles to their name. Add to it the fact that they were playing at home and Australia seemed virtually unbeatable.

But little did they know that a young and inexperienced team from India would stand in their way and deprive them of a perfect tournament opener. Everything seemed to go Australia’s way too. They won the toss and elected to bowl first, got three quick wickets in the powerplay in a span of 7 runs and restricted India to a not-so-daunting 132/4. Deepti Sharma top-scored for India with 49* but without a final thrust, India ended with probably a par score. For a strong Australian batting lineup, the score should have been just a walk in the park.

However, there is an old adage in cricket- don’t judge the score or the pitch until both teams have batted because what we see and decipher from the television screen may not be true. Australia began quite fluently and while they weren’t running away with the game yet, the game was firmly in their control. The Indian bowlers, though economical, weren’t really troubling the Australian batters.

In walked Poonam Yadav, the last bowler to be brought into the attack by India, and along with partner in crime, wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia, broke the back of Australia with some skillful bowling. Poonam ended up with figures of 4-19 which included the key wickets of Alyssa Healy, Rachael Haynes, Ellyse Perry, and Jess Jonassen. Poonam was ably supported by pacer Shikha Pandey who herself ended up with dream figures of 3-14.

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India bowled Australia out for 115 and won the match by 17 runs. Poonam Yadav was named the Player of the Match for her inspired bowling performance which set the tone for India going into the next match of the tournament. That day was sort of a historical moment for every Indian fan as a young team with very little experience turned the heat on the mighty Australians. That victory made everyone believe that India could indeed do something special. It made others believe that they too could take on the teams mightier than them. On the 8th of March, during the finals, Australia may have shown that they are head and shoulders above the rest in pressure situations, the victory on 21st February showed that if there is a will there definitely is a way!

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