It must’ve been a sense of deja vu for India as another batting collapse got the better of them in a big final. The effort on Sunday (August 7), in the Commonwealth Games final against Australia was far better than what they endured in the Women’s T20 World Cup final of 2020, but the result – of finishing second-best – was the same.
Australia are the reigning champions of the T20 format, with top-notch resilience in tough fixtures. But India brought some of their own feistiness in chase through a third-wicket stand between Jemimah Rodrigues and captain Harmanpreet Kaur. They picked up the pieces from 22 for 2 in the third over, and got the chase going with a 96-run partnership off just 77 balls. The chase for Australia’s 161/8 – and the gold medal – was well and truly on, until Megan Schutt cleaned up Rodrigues for a run-a-ball 33. What followed was a batting collapse that Harmranpreet was left to rue in end.
“Every time in big finals, we make the same mistakes again and again [with the bat], that is something we have to improve,” Harmanpreet said. “We don’t do these mistakes in the league phase or in bilateral. That is blocking our mind somewhere. I am someone who is always looking for one more batter in the side. Unfortunately, we’re working on that. Once we get that, this thing [collapsing] will go away.
“After losing two crucial wickets, the way Jemi and I batted was much needed at that time. You need to hold your nerves. We were nearly there. Maybe if Pooja [Vastrakar] or I were around, we could’ve won the game. But that is part of the game; sometimes some things you can’t control. It is great learning for us,” she added.
Before the nerves of the situation got to India, they made a match of the big occasion, doing a fantastic job of restricting Australia to 162. Much of that achievement was down to India’s sharpness in the field – demonstrated at different points in the first innings.
“If you want to beat this Australian team, you have to field well. If you give them easy runs, they can easily take the game away. We discussed it in the team meeting and Radha set the example for us,” Harmanpreet opined.
Just as Australia built a big partnership for the second-wicket, Yadav eked out a couple of breakthroughs with commendable efforts on the field. Yadav was quick to react to Australia’s attempts of sneaking in a single with a leg side nudge, as she covered good ground and fired an underarm throw at the striker’s end where Lanning was caught short. Yadav then took an excellent diving catch at backward point in the next over to dismiss Tahlia McGrath. India raised their standards as the game progressed, with the likes of Meghana Singh and Deepti Sharma too taking exceptional catches, including a one-handed blinder from the latter at mid-on to end Mooney’s stay in the 18th over.
“The effort we put up today is something we wanted to do. I know the last 2-3 overs [in the chase] were not in our favour but throughout the game, the way we played was outstanding to watch. We’ve been working on our fielding for a long time. I’m happy with the way we fielded today. That is something we wanted to do as a team.”
Though India fell short in the final hurdle, it was a campaign to remember for India. Their only two defeats in the tournament came against the eventual gold medalists, while they downed one of the tournament favourites – and hosts – in the semifinal.
“I know we could’ve easily won gold, but something is better than nothing, at least we got silver. We deserved it for so much hard work. If not gold, we’re satisfied with what we got today,” Harmanpreet said.
India may have finished short in the most important game, but that didn’t stop Harmanpreet’s opposite number – Meg Lanning – from being effusive in praise for them, reckoning India would soon dominate the sport across formats. Harmanpreet wholeheartedly concurred.
“[As a team] we are on the right track, we just need to keep working hard. As Lanning said, we’re not far from dominating across formats. We are improving as a team and time is not far when we will start winning back-to-back,” Harmanpreet said.
Source by – Cricbuzz