This world cup has been full of ups of downs for the runners-up of the 2017 World Cup. Women in Blue started their campaign with a huge margin against the arch-rivals Pakistan. They followed it by a defeat by 62 runs against the hosts and favourites Kiwis. They came back stronger post to defeat the might, Caribbean team, with a huge margin of 155 runs. And yesterday they lost to the defending world champions England in a low scoring match. In a do or die match, England had the upper hand against India.
The English bowlers did the trick for their team. With a strong batting line-up of Smriti, Mithali, Harman and other youngsters, the English bowlers had to bowl in the right areas, and they just did that. India's overreliance on Smriti and Harman was once again visible. The India duo, which did wonders in the last game couldn't quite get the hold of English bowlers. The top order, middle order and the experienced skipper Mithali couldn't do much to get the scorecard going. From 61/3, the Indian team was bundled for 134 runs.
Indian batters couldn't do much, but Indian bowlers decided not to give anything easy for English batters. Meghna Singh struck right on the first ball she delivered, dismissing the dangerous Danielle Wyatt. And the Indian spearhead for many hears Jhulan Goswami caught Beaumont before the stumps. Both the pacers breather fire, but a small total like this was always going to be difficult to defend. After 2 down for 4 runs, skipper Heather Knight and Natalie Sciver took the matters into their hands and didn't allow the Indian bowlers to trouble them anymore.
Sciver was dismissed by Vastrakar, but Knight was determined to be firm on one end. She stood tall and scored a much needed fifty for her and the team. Eventually, India did dismiss 3 more English batters, but by the time it was already too late. English team sighed relief after losing the first three encounters, thereby ensuring that their run in the tournament continues. On the other hand, for India, it was not a great sign to lose after beautifully winning the previous game.
India might have lost, however, the fighting spirit of the team was laudable. Despite having a meagre total to defend against the strong contenders, the Indian bowlers gave their everything to make sure the win is still on the cards. Meghana bowled tight lines to keep English batters in check. Jhulan scalped her 250th international wicket becoming the first player to do so. The energy of Indian fielders was not low for one bit. The magnificent Blinder taken by Harmanpreet Kaur, knowing that the match was far from India's win, was being an example of the dedication Indian fielders put.
The result did not go in India's favour, but these positives will help India keep their heads high and proceed in the next game with positive mindset. If English team can make strong comeback from 3 consecutive defeats, Indian team can definitely make one too. The further games against Australia, South Africa are going to be very crucial for Women in Blue's place in the tournament. Also having exposed the middle order in earlier stages would give them a chance to improve in the later stages of the tournament. One would just hope the injury of Harmanpreet is not serious, and that she will be a part of upcoming matches. All in all, if all these things are taken care of, India will be in the knockouts of this grand event.
Authored By:- Ashwin Jangam ( Cricket Analyst, Host and Entertainer)
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