India Women were bowled out for just 80 in the second T20 International (T20I) against England Women, succumbing to their third-lowest total in the format. It was a day to forget for the Harmanpreet Kaur-led side, who were on the back foot right after Heather Knight won the toss and elected to bowl.
With this loss, they have also conceded the series with one match to go. With the T20 World Cup set to be played in nine months' time, this will certainly prove to be a wake-up call for them. Lucky for them, they have some time on their hands to turn things around ahead of the marquee event.
There were more negatives than positives for India in the second T20I against England in Mumbai. Let’s take a look at some of them:
India’s woes against spin
10 of the 16 wickets India lost in the series have been against the spinners, which does not bode well for them given that the upcoming T20 World Cup in 2024 will be played on spin-friendly tracks in Bangladesh. In fact, they have lost 47 wickets in T20Is to spin this year, the most after Bangladesh (69), Pakistan (53) and South Africa (51).
They lost as many as six wickets against spin on Saturday (December 9), which is the most by India at home. The last time they had achieved something like this was against West Indies in 2016, where the West Indies spinners took six Indian wickets.
England had clearly read the pitch better today and hence they decided to add an extra spinner to their quiver with Charlie Dean coming in for pacer Mahika Gaur. This call paid off handsomely, as it was Dean who started India’s downfall removing Shafali Verma off the second ball of the match. India, on the other hand, added an extra pacer in Titas Sadhu.
The England spinners accounted for 6 for 42 in their 10.2 overs on Saturday, bowling impeccable lines and lengths. The pacers, too did their bit to support their spinners.
After putting up just 80, India decided to introduce spin only in the sixth over after England had already scored 38. Deepti Sharma, who has bowled quite a bit in the powerplay in the past, came to bowl only in the ninth over, while Shreyanka Patil bowled just two deliveries coming in to bowl as late as the 12th over.
What’s up with Deepti Sharma?
Deepti Sharma’s 2023 is getting from bad to worse, especially with the bat. The role she does with the bat is not an easy one as she gets moved around quite a bit. She has been entrusted to bat everywhere between five and eight over the last two years, but has not been able to match the highs she had in 2022.
Even in this game, she had a chance to turn things around, having arrived at the crease when India were in a spot of bother at 28 for 3 in the fifth over. Instead of absorbing the pressure early on, Deepti swung her bat at a wide delivery from Lauren Bell, edging it through to the ‘keeper. Can she turn things around in the third T20I?
Renuka shines bright again
0.1 Renuka Singh to Sophia Dunkley, wide down leg
0.1 Renuka Singh to Sophia Dunkley, 5 wides down leg
This is how Renuka Singh Thakur started her spell. But from there on, she bowled a tight spell.
While she bowled a tad wider in the first game, drawing the batter forward more often than not, she bowled pretty much on the wickets in this game with a bit of swing aiding her efforts. All her four powerplay wickets in the series have bowled the batter, further underlying her relentless accuracy.
England make life difficult for themselves
England were cruising at 61 for 2 in the eighth over, needing just 20 more. Nat Sciver-Brunt and Alice Capsey had put on 42 in good time to ensure that their team was well on course.
However, Sciver-Brunt played a rash shot to get out, and after that, England lost three more wickets for 12 more runs in the next 16 deliveries. Luckily for them, India did not have enough runs on the board to take it down to the wire, but England will certainly look back on that phase, which could have been avoided had their batters not played rash shots.
“After losing early wickets, we were thinking 120, but couldn't do it. But still, our bowlers were ready to take up the challenge and bowled the way we wanted,” India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur said after the match. Had India achieved that, England may have rued those 16 deliveries, which brought India back into the contest.
Ecclestone reigns supreme
Sophie Ecclestone is currently having her best year. She has picked up 21 wickets at 9.57 (ER 5.13) in 2023, the most she has in a single calendar year. As a spinner, her record - nine wickets at 9.7 runs apiece (ER 4.3) - in the middle overs are outstanding.
However, her performance at the death has been even better. Ecclestone’s 12 wickets in this phase is the best after Hong Kong’s Kary Chan (15). The left-arm spinner has picked up her wickets at an average of 6.6, an economy rate of 5.6 and struck every 7.1 deliveries.
England proving to be India’s kryptonite
The last time India won a bilateral series against England was way back in 2006. Since then, India have lost six series against them. Moreover, India have now lost 22 out of 29 T20Is against England, which is the most against a single team after Australia, against whom they have lost 23 out of 31 T20Is. India have not lost even 10 against any other team.
Notes for Bazball: keep scoring quickly, bat first & be wary of the sweep
The anatomy of England's demolition
Gaurav Nandan Tripathi
Smriti, spinners and Renuka help India avoid a whitewash in Mumbai
Gaurav Nandan Tripathi
All-round strength in focus as India gets ready for England
Gaurav Nandan Tripathi
India fall aginisingly short of maiden Women's World Cup title
Deepti Sharma and the uncanny knack of bailing India out of muddle
Renuka stands out, but Indian spinners continue to falter vs quality opponents
Stats: India achieve 16th T20I win of the year after spinners bag all 10 wickets
Stats preview: A tiff between two high scoring nations & India’s woes while defending