SA Women’s Tri-Series 2023: Lack of power game hurt India in another final
South Africa Women’s T20 Tri-Series 2022-23: Lack of power game hurt India Women in another final. India lost to South Africa Women in T20 tri-series final.
So close yet so far. This line is quite apt when it comes to India Women’s performance in the finals, be it the ODI World Cup 2017 final, T20 World Cup 2020 final or the Commonwealth Games Cricket Competition gold match; except for last year's Asia Cup, they somehow could not cope with the pressure associated with a final and keep up their tempo.
This time as well they struggled to win another final match, even though they fared pretty well against both South Africa and West Indies in the group matches during the T20 tri-series played in South Africa. They remained unbeaten until the final. Even though the stakes were not so high in the tri-series final on Thursday against the Sune Luus-led South Africa, the Indian batting lineup collapsed like a deck of cards, and was given a reality check by the Proteas.
The tri-series proved to be a preparatory ground for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 that starts on February 10 in South Africa. It is a golden chance for them to sit down and analyse their mistakes as a team, find out what went wrong & how mistakes could have been avoided, fine tune their strengths and move forward positively to start their ICC T20 Women’s World Cup campaign. India will be playing their first World Cup match against Pakistan on February 12.
Read More: Top Four India Players to watch out for in ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023
Batting overly dependent on Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur
The team’s batting lineup is overly dependent on Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur’s performances. It’s pretty obvious to depend on big players, but if the team needs to score big runs or to chase a big total, then if two of them get out, it becomes an impossible scenario from thereon for India. No one from the batting lineup comes to the rescue. The same situation was evident in the final of the tri-series; after Mandhana and Kaur went back, only Harleen Deol chipped in with a substantial innings of 46, albeit off 56 deliveries, and the team could score only 109 runs in 20 overs.
In the absence of star opener Shafali Verma, the team tried Yastika Bhatia and Jemimah Rodrigues at the opening slot, but both of them could hardly come near to Verma’s strike rate. Bhatia who got an opportunity to open twice, failed to encash the chance. In the first match of the tri-series, Bhatia scored 35 runs in 34 balls with a strike rate of 102.94, and in the second match she scored 18 runs in 23 with a strike rate of 78.26. Rodrigues opened in the other three matches, but could not live up to expectations.
In T20 matches, expectations from the opening batter are more than what Bhatia and Rodrigues delivered. The starting four overs is one of the most important phases which sets the momentum for a big score. During these powerplay overs, it is expected of the batters to smash the ball, and hit some boundaries to score quick runs, and set a high run rate. But both Bhatia and Rodrigues struggled to push the momentum.
Harleen Deol’s innings in the final 46 of 56 did more harm than good after losing both the opening batters. She took too several balls to settle in on a tough pitch and then could not make the most of it. The total number of dot balls bowled by South Africa was 57 (9.3 overs) with the most consumed by Deol. On the other hand, Deepti Sharma played some good shots but could not do much as there were not many balls left at that stage.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s No 5 batter Chloe Tryon (57 off 32) played stout-hearted cricket without second thoughts even when South Africa had lost half their side for 66 runs. India need someone like her to step up in a situation like this and take responsibility.
In order to win the 2023 T20 World Cup, India have to play an aggressive brand of cricket. They do pretty well in group matches, but the concern is when they reach the semi-final or play against big teams like England and Australia; these teams smell the fear of the opponent, and then playing according to it. They have to be at their best even in the worst situation.
Read More: Women’s T20 WC 2023: India go in with strong batting order; inexperienced bowling cause for concern
Highest run-scorers for India in tri-series
Deepti Sharma leads India’s Spin bowling attack
The most positive thing about this series was the continuation of good bowling from the Indian bowlers, especially Deepti Sharma, the player of the series. She bagged a total of nine wickets in 16 overs with an economy rate of 5.56. Batters found it difficult to pick Sharma. She managed to deceive the batters with her lengths and turn. Sharma is the finest all-rounder of the lot, on whom India can depend as regards batting and bowling as well.
In the World Cup, the pace bowling attack would be under Renuka Singh and Shikha Pandey. Singh who won the “ICC Emerging Women's Cricketer of the Year 2022” has claimed 40 wickets in just 29 matches across the two white-ball formats in 2022, filling the void of the great Jhulan Goswami.
While, the spin attack would be under Deepti Sharma, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Sneh Rana and Devika Vaidya. Sharma, Rana and Vaidya all three of them are all-rounders. Vaidya made a comeback after eight years. She is flexible in the batting order and can be used as a floater and contribute with quick runs when needed; she can also be used as an extra bowler to pick up wickets.