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A Dayalan Hemalatha show that made you wonder "What If"

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Last updated on 09 Mar 2024 | 05:33 PM
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A Dayalan Hemalatha show that made you wonder "What If"

The Giants underused Hemalatha in the season, but something changed today, as she walked out to bat at three and made the entire Giants camp wonder “what if”

The Gujarat Giants would have thought that a new season would bring a new beginning for them in the Women’s Premier League. However, in the second season, their fortunes didn’t change. Four losses in their first four games bulldozed their minor hope and signalled to the fans that this might just be a four-team tournament. 

Scores of 126/9, 107/7, 142/5 and 138/8 in the first four games for Gujarat Giants revealed the exact problem: their batting was failing repeatedly. Their batting order lacked consistency, as batters like Phoebe Litchfield and Dayalan Hemalatha kept swinging between batting positions like a pendulum. 

What exacerbated this issue even further was that the Gujarat Giants management, which included Indian stalwarts like Mithali Raj and Nooshin Al Khadeer, failed to reward one of their lone shining stars during the darkness of the first season. 

Dayalan Hemalatha scored 151 runs in eight innings, striking at 157.3 - the fastest for a Giants batter with more than 150 runs. She also had the second-best balls/boundary record (4.2) on the side, apart from being their second-best striker of spin after Sophia Dunkley. 

She showed that she could not only clear the infield easily but also hit the big ones regularly, as she scored the most sixes for her side in the season. 

This season, she batted four times out of number 5 and 6, coming after her side was on scores like 37/3, 50/4, 135/4 (19th over), 192/3 (19th over). 

So not only were the Giants underusing Hemalatha in the season so far, but they were also hitting themselves in their own foot by not sending her to either arrest a collapse or counterattack the bowling when the chips were down. 

However, something changed in today’s (March 9) game, as Hemalatha walked out to bat at three and made the entire Giants camp wonder, “What if”. 


Laura Wolvaardt was gobbled up by Hayley Matthews, who cramped her up for room. And in came Hemalatha at 3. 

It took her only four balls to get her first boundary against Saika Ishaque’s left-arm spin, a bowling type against whom she hits on every fourth delivery for a boundary on average. From the other end, Beth Mooney was batting like a dream on a track that was a belter, and Hemalatha joined her in the charge. 

She lofted Amanjot Kaur over extra cover for a four with ease, and when Amelia Kerr came in the next over, she just went at her full throttle. Kerr, being a leggie, was turning it away from her, and Hemalatha just dished out a buffet of lofted shots over the offside, hitting her for two fours (one above extra cover, one through point) and a maximum over long off. 

When Sajana came on to bowl and got Beth Mooney out, she didn’t care that a wicket had just fallen. She saw the short-of-length deliveries and hit her for two more boundaries, one on the offside and one on the leg. 

When she got out after scoring 74 on just 40 deliveries, the Giants were at 163 in the 17th over, and their run rate was almost touching 10 runs/over. 

That was her impact. She made the offside her home and scored 34 off 16 deliveries at a strike rate of 212.5 against the spinners while striking at a massive 166.7 against pace as well. 

This was clean hitting. This was elite hitting. This was the hitting that can make a huge difference in a game where power-hitting is rare and worth its weight in gold.


Get Hemalatha to Dhaka, please!

The upcoming T20 World Cup is in Bangladesh. The Indian team have often been found guilty of getting choked by the opposition spinners in the middle overs as they fail to attack them effectively. 

In Dayalan Hemalatha, India not only have a very good spin player, but they can also properly use her as a spin basher in the middle overs. A look at her record in T20s against different bowling types just proves that. If not there, her hitting abilities would come as handy as a finisher - a position that has been the reason behind India’s fall in many ICC Tournaments before. 

Also, it’s easy to forget her canny off-spin, which she is quite good at. On slow pitches of Bangladesh, she’ll be a handful to hit. 

Essentially, Hemalatha is a solution to multiple problems faced by the Indian team. Gujarat Giants took their own sweet time to realise how best to use her. One would hope Amol Mazumdar and Harmanpreet Kaur won’t make the same mistakes. 

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