An unfortunate end to an inspiring campaign

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safarisafari
08 Aug 2022 | 06:33 AM
authorShweta Haranhalli

An unfortunate end to an inspiring campaign

The Women in Blue endured yet another heartbreak as they went down by nine runs against the world champions in a fitting finale of the Commonwealth Games

14:3 - Australia introduced their premier bowler into the attack, and she strikes with a perfect leg cutter to deceive Jemimah Rodrigues. A roar of ecstasy in the Aussie camp as India lose their third wicket. 

The equation is down to 44 off 34 deliveries with seven wickets in hand. India are the firm favourites to get over the line. 

However, in the next 30 minutes that followed, India crumbled under pressure yet again in the final of a major event to go agonisingly down from a position they were certain to rewrite history. 

In a post-match press conference, Harmanpreet Kaur said, "A medal is something people back home will get inspired from, and they could start playing cricket."

While India and their billions of fans would be hurting at the moment, spare a thought for the 15 players who have toiled hard for ten days to bring smiles to the nation with their exhilarating performances. 

Yes, they will not return as champions, but they can be mighty proud of their efforts that has inspired young kids to take up the sport and emulate their idols. 

In a campaign riddled with challenges, Harmanpreet Kaur and her young brigade have changed the dynamics of the sport by adopting an aggressive style of play that has dismantled the opposition early in the powerplay. 

With Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana striding out the open the batting, the Women in Blue have been blessed with two aggressive options at the top of the order. 

Despite being different in their approach, with Mandhana timing the ball and Shafali tonking to all corners of the ground, the duo have been an ideal foil to each other's style of play.

In the five innings played thus far, India have scored at a run rate of 8.1 runs per over and smashed a boundary every four deliveries in the powerplay, which is the best among all the teams in the competition. 

Their blazing start at the top of the innings had often taken the game away from the opposition, and the prime example is their opening partnership of 76 runs in eight overs of the innings. 

With a solid foundation set at the top, the middle order can launch an attack from the get-go and maximize the effort for their openers in the back end of the innings. 

Jemimah Rodrigues' roaring comeback 

And as we are on the topic of India's middle order, there is one player who has impressed everybody with her consistent performance that has powered India to the second position. 

The 21-year-old was dropped from the Indian side for the World Cup held in New Zealand earlier in the year and fought her way through the Women's T20 Challenge and the Sri Lanka series that followed to make her comeback in the team for the Commonwealth Games. 

In the five innings, the right-handed batter scored 173 runs at an average of 73 and a strike rate of 116.8 to lead India's charge in the middle overs. Coming in at number three, she was the glue to India's batting and will be one of the players to watch out for in the future. 

The emergence of Renuka Singh 

There is another player in Renuka Singh, who is touted to be the future of the Indian pace bowling unit. The right-arm pacer stunned the Australian side with four wickets in the powerplay in the opening match of the Games and followed it up with another four-wicket haul against Barbados in the third league match. 

In the absence of Jhulan Goswami and Shikha Pandey, the 26-year-old can be an ideal player to shoulder the mantle of leading India's bowling unit in the white-ball format.


A detailed analysis of the above pitch map helps us understand that the majority of the wickets for the speedster have been in the channel around the off stump, where she has got the opposition batters moving forward against her swinging deliveries. 

With the conditions in England suiting her style of bowling, the Shimla-born player scalped 11 wickets at a strike rate of 10.4 to finish as the top wicket-taker in the competition. 

Despite the scars of the defeat being fresh in the minds of the players, the team management and the selectors can take solace from the fact that the team is heading in the right direction and the elusive trophy is not far away. 

However, for India to finish as champions, they ought to win the battle of nerves, which they have unfortunately failed to ace on three occasions in the last five years. 

Well, only time will tell if they will overcome the jitters but for now, let us celebrate and applaud their scintillating efforts that has helped them win silver in the first-ever women's Commonwealth Games. 

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India Women vs Australia WomenWomen's Twenty20 Commonwealth Games, 2022India WomenAustralia WomenSmriti MandhanaRenuka SinghJemimah RodriguesShafali VermaMegan Schutt

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