back icon


Individual brilliance overshadows glaring issues in India's campaign

Last updated on 21 Feb 2023 | 09:56 AM
Follow Us
Individual brilliance overshadows glaring issues in India's campaign

The Women in Blue are through to the semi-final of the T20 World Cup but are yet to produce a dominant performance

The St George's park in Port Elizabeth hosted its final game of the ongoing T20 World Cup and the most crucial one if you're a fan of Indian cricket, and boy, did it not live up to all the hype and expectations. 

After a disappointing loss to England in their last encounter at this very venue, the Women in Blue stepped onto the field, finding themselves in a tricky situation against an Irish challenge. 

And well, if you're someone who has not followed their campaign in this mega event, the Ireland outfit has produced some spirited performances in the four matches and reached agonisingly close to winning at least two of them. 

The Indian side were well aware that they were in for a stern test but little did they know, it wasn't only from the Irish outfit but also from the gutsy wind blowing across the ground, making it challenging for the batters to execute their strokes. 

"One of the toughest innings I would have played. It was not about the wicket but the pace they were bowling, and with the wind, it got worse," said Smriti Mandhana after her career-best 87 powered India into the final four. 

Lukewarm batting performance, wind, rain and a strong Irish fightback, the 100 minutes of play possibly witnessed plenty of ebbs and flows before the Indian fans could heave a massive sigh of relief as the Women in Blue edged past Ireland by five runs in a rain-curtailed fixture.

While they sealed their place and might be up against their fiercest rivals in defending champions, Australia for a place in the summit clash of the coveted trophy, their road to the Aussie clash has been far from convincing with some glaring issues that need immediate attention. 

Misfiring top order

It is fair to say that India, in the four matches of the league stage have been overly reliant on Smriti Mandhana to shoulder the bulk of the responsibility of the side in the powerplay. 

Despite missing the clash against Pakistan, the southpaw has smashed two consecutive half-centuries against England and Ireland to single-handedly lead India's charge in the mega event. 

While she was the one holding fort at the top of the order, the Women in Blue were guided over the line by one-of-a-kind innings from Jemimah Rodrigues in the opening encounter. 

Despite her scintillating performance against Pakistan, the top three have fired in bits and pieces, with Shafali Verma's dismal form a significant cause of concern. 

There ain't any surprise that England were going to attack her with a barrage of short-pitched, and unfortunately for her and the Indian side, the 19-year-old was all at sea against the quality of Katherine Brunt and Lauren Bell

Damn, almost 18 months since India toured England in 2021 that showcased chinks in her armour, it was a Control C and Control V dismissal for the teenager. 

Will the real Harmanpreet Kaur stand up, please?

While we are a bit critical of the performance of the top order, let us come a slot down the order and focus a bit more on the exploits of Indian skipper Harmanpreet Kaur

The 33-year-old etched her name in the record books by becoming the first player across men and women to feature in 150 T20I matches for the national side. However, the joy was a bit short-lived as she endured a disappointing outing against Ireland, crawling her way to 13 off 20 deliveries at a strike rate of 65. 

The right-handed batter has scored 53 runs in three innings at an average of 17.66 and a strike rate of 88.4, which is the worst among batters in the middle order (4-7) with a minimum of 50 runs in the tournament. 

What happened to Pooja Vastrakar, the finisher?

With Harmanpreet yet to fire in the tournament and honestly looking like a bit rusty, the onus of the side to finish off games has been on Richa Ghosh

And to the credit of the 19-year-old, she has executed her hard-hitting abilities and her match awareness to the absolute T and bailed India out of challenging situations in pretty much most of the league matches.


However, the team management has been guilty of not utilising the services of Pooja Vastrakar as the finisher to not only compliment Richa but also ease a bit of her pressure in the back end of the innings. 

In the game against England, with 47 runs required off the last four overs, the team management opted to send Deepti Sharma instead of Vastrakar, much to the astonishment of all the people around the world. 

Well, don't get me wrong. Deepti is indeed one of the best all-rounders in the women's game, but with three out of the four overs set to be bowled by pacers and the right-hander's exploits against pace, it was a decision that did tilt the outcome of the game entirely in favour of the England side. 

If the Women in Blue fail to get over the line against the mighty Aussies in the semi-final, would this move cost India the elusive world title?

India's spin conundrum 

While Women in Blue have been lackluster in the batting department, the bowling unit or rather the spin-heavy quartet has been possibly the worst in the tournament, especially in conditions more conducive for the tweakers.


In the four innings, the Indian spinners have conceded 193 runs at an economy rate of 7.1 runs per over, the third-worst by any team in the competition.

With Renuka Singh wreaking havoc in the powerplay, the spinners have failed to capitalise on the start given by the 27-year-old with the new ball. And the prime example of this was the clash against England, as the spinners allowed Natalie Sciver and Heather Knight to keep the scoreboard ticking and lay a solid foundation for their first innings total. 

With two days before the much-awaited clash against the reigning champions, only time will tell how much of these will impact India's campaign, but as fans of the sport, we hope the Women in Blue iron out these flaws come the big day. 

Related Article