After enjoying an unbeaten run in the group stage of the Women’s World T20 in Guyana, India’s batsmen collapsed spectacularly against England in their semi-final in North Sound and exited the tournament. An attacking approach – amplified by captain Harmanpreet Kaur’s blistering hundred in the tournament opener – had served India well in Guyana, but it worked against them at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, which offered more turn to the spinners.
Harmanpreet, Veda Krishnamurthy and Anuja Patil all fell while looking to hit aerially, as India crashed from 89 for 2 to 112 all out. Harmanpreet defended India’s plan to attack England’s bowlers.
“I’ll say if you see throughout the tournament our approach was attack, so that is the reason,” she said. “We wanted to attack. I think sometimes it works your way and sometimes it doesn’t work. So I think that was our plan, to attack. And I know the wicket was a bit different here, again at the beginning it was different.”
Another major talking point in India’s defeat was their strategy of benching a fit-again Mithali Raj, the top scorer for India in T20Is and scorer of back-to-back fifties in this tournament against Ireland and Pakistan. In the tournament opener, Raj did not even bat, with wicketkeeper-batsman Taniya Bhatia having been promoted to open alongside Smriti Mandhana. After that game Harmanpreet explained that Bhatia brought greater firepower at the top.
Raj, though, returned to the top and set up India’s wins against Pakistan and Ireland. She had missed the side’s last group game against Australia because of a knee injury. Today, despite recovering from it, she wasn’t picked for the semi-final. Harmanpreet said that the side wanted to stick to the XI that defeated Australia.
“We were going with a winning combination,” she said. “We did really well against Australia. And that is the reason we just wanted to go with the same combination.”
Harmanpreet, though, drew positives from 18-year-old Jemimah Rodrigues’ batting. After opening the tournament with a punchy half-century against New Zealand and pitching in with handy contributions through the Guyana leg, she used the depth of the crease and showed signs of adaptability during her run-a-ball 26 in North Sound.
“When you’re building the team, you need some more young players to come and perform,” Harmanpreet said. “I think we are quite a young team and they’re doing well. Jemi, she’s very mature. She has adapted to the international level very early. It’s a learning process and it’s like building the team. If we get some more young players who take the responsibility, that will be great for us.”
Amy Jones, who might not have been in the England side had Sarah Taylor been available, did just that for her team, showing adaptability and taking on the responsibility to seal their chase with an unbeaten 53 off 47 balls. She hit the winning runs when she swatted Anuja Patil over wide mid-on for four. So, where does she rank this innings?
“It’s definitely at the top,” she said. “I haven’t played a big role within team at World Cup before. So obviously semi-finals, fantastic. So, yeah, it ranks very high.”
Natalie Sciver played an equally important role in the chase, making a fifty of her own in a fuss-free 92-run stand with Jones.
“Nat was fantastic. She came in and straightaway took the pressure off, having just lost a wicket,” Jones said. “She’s an attacking batter and she always goes straightaway, which makes the partnership easier. I could easily take the singles and knew as long as we stayed in together we’d get the job done.”