3, 6, DNB, 3, 5, 9, 0, DNB, 49, 44, 6, 9, 26
That isn’t a pretty picture for a batter across formats, is it? Now paste this not-so-petty picture beside the featured image of the Indian skipper Harmanpreet Kaur losing her sticks. The not-so-pretty picture becomes miserable quicker than you can realise.
Harmanpreet bats at number four for India. That’s the most crucial batting position for two reasons – One, to continue the momentum provided by the openers Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana. Two, with India lacking power hitters (except for Richa Ghosh) down the order, Harmanpreet needs to bat until the beginning of the death overs at least to ensure that the innings don't lose either steam or direction.
Unfortunately for India, Harmanpreet has failed to fulfil her responsibilities, and her dismissals have come at a time when Indian wickets have fallen at regular intervals in the middle overs.
In the second T20I of this series, she was dismissed in the 11th over, just 14 balls after Smriti Mandhana. India were reduced to 54/4 and failed to finish on a high. The eventual defeat was a foregone conclusion after that.
Meanwhile, in the third T20I, she was outdone by a slower delivery from Annabel Sutherland, which she was completely at sea against. And again, her dismissal happened just five balls after Mandhana’s dismissal in the tenth over. Indian women were going well in the game until then, scoring at around eight runs per over. But two quick wickets and India’s run rate could never reach that high in the entire innings.
Harmanpreet’s dismissals have put extra pressure on the lower middle order and Richa Ghosh in particular. The youngster came good today, with a 34 off 28. However, to put the responsibilities of finishing the innings on a high on a 20-year-old after being four down around the halfway mark is unfair.
The most despondent thing amongst all this is that this lack of form is ubiquitous for Harmanpreet. Formats have become irrelevant. Moreover, her off-the-field statements where she has named called youngsters from her team for not performing in crunch moments don’t bode well for the team morale and her public image.
Things are not going well for Harmanpreet Kaur. She is inconsistent, to say the least, and India’s batting is miserable without their lynchpin. However, to hope is a good thing, and it’s Harmanpreet we are talking about. So a loud and in-your-face comeback is never out of the window.
Fans would hope for the latter with bated breaths because the upcoming World Cup is in Bangladesh, and India can’t afford an out-of-form captain who also happens to be their best player of spin.
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