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India not up to the mark in World T20 finals

First the news – India disposes Australian in the opening encounter of the Twenty20 World Cup. Next, India booked a place in the World Cup semi- finals after surviving a late scare from New Zealand in a result which could have significant ramifacations on the women's game. Next India player their nemesis – England but fortunately the rain GOD was favourable to India and the match was abandoned which meant India, luckily, went to the Finals at the MCG.

Indian cricket authorities who have been relatively slow in recognising women's cricket, jumpedthe gun early, when BCCI lifted the pay with top players able to earn over $100,000.

Then came the Finals – on the International Women’s Day – at the sacred arena, MCG, with more than 86,000 fans turning up for a Grand Finale with the Aussies.

The Indian team cannot complain the support – at least around 40,000 Indian fans were cheering them. Though their run to the finals Down Under was on the back of a good team effort, the side must polish the chinks in their armour to make big statements event after event.

The quality of cricket played by the Indian team in the finals was lopsided with heavy dependence on one player and senior batters were totally out of form. Big disappointment to the huge Indian fans who attended the game, similar disappointment for the Administrators who failed to create the World record attendance, thanks to the Carona Virus fears. The form and the balance of the team did not look like that of a world champion.

The team was heavily reliant on spinners – not a good strategy by the team management. Players like Poonam Yadav, Deepti Sharma and Radha Yadav have been the soul of the Indian team in the last few months which was not a great strategy on the ground and pitches in Australia.

Poonam Yadav, who bowled her loopy spinners, fooled the Aussies in the opening game. But the Australian team management studied the videos and decided that she is very slow and loopy and the best way to play her was to wait for the ball. Indeed, in the Finals, they thrashed her to all part of the ground.

Deepti started the game with three full tosses and continued fiighting the ball up on either side of the stumps without much effect.

Rajeshwari Gayakwad was economical but failed to pick up a single wicket which was needed desperately. The team management failed to select based on Horses-for-Courses policy. The over-reliance on spinners has led to another major concern. Team India’s fast bowling resources look barren, with the seamers not having regular exposure resulting in team management’s lack of faith. The lack of a pacers came to haunt the side.

The repeated failure of the Big Batting Guns was a disaster in the making. Thanks to Shafali Verma Indian kept moving up to the Finals but both Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur could not get their acts together even after several games.

Smriti Mandhana has a below-par record in ICC T20 events, averaging just 18.62 in 17 games, way below her career average of 25.23. Her repeated failure along with Harmanpreet’s woeful run was overlooked due to Shafali Verma’s big hits, but in the finals, when the side needed them the most, the two failed to get going.

With Mithali Raj not in the T20I fray, the average side of the Indian team currently is just 22. Three teenagers, two of whom are aged just 16, need the power players to perform and provide them with a cushion so they can play their natural game in crucial moments.

Meanwhile, India’s opener Smriti Mandhana apologised to all the cricket fans in the country after her side faced an embarrassing defeat to Australia in the recently concluded Women’s T20 World Cup final.

“I would like to thank all those who filled the MCG on March 08 and the billions who supported us throughout. Really sorry that the results didn’t go in our favour but I’m overwhelmed by the support that we’ve been receiving, and that kind of support is what keeps us going,” Mandhana wrote in her Instagram post.

Smriti, who didn’t have a great outing in the tournament and managed just 49 runs in her four innings, further vowed that the Indian team would work harder and come back strongly in the times to come.

“I also wanted to take a moment to appreciate the efforts and the hard work the entire team and support staff have put in throughout this World Cup. Really proud of this young team, and I promise you all on behalf of my team that we will definitely work harder and come back stronger. Jai Hind,” she added.

Indian Women's team Head Coach WV Raman on Monday backed the squad despite falling short in the final. Raman stated that the girls performed as a unit despite reports suggesting that the team was dependent on only one or two individuals.

Speaking to press, Raman attributed the loss to the week leading up to the final in which the squad lost momentum as they did not get to play.

The semi-final against England was washed away due to rains and India progressed to the finals having ended the group stage above England. The fact is India would have struggled to get past England had the match was not a washout.

WV Raman wants to follow Australia’s model and said “I’m trying to create a team which will play together for 6-8 years and dominate world cricket. That’s what sets the Australian team apart. As a team, they have played quite a few finals together and that’s the reason why they dominated the World Cup.”

The Australian team prospered thanks to some poor fielding by the Indian team. Both openers were dropped early in their respective knocks and were aided by some poor bowling. "When you lose half-chances it's hard for a bowler to get their confidence back," Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur said.

"I don't think we were fielding under pressure but unfortunately we were unable to take those chances and that was very crucial because they were both in great form. You cannot drop those catches ... after that they batted really well,” she added.

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