Analysis | How India could have replicated Wellington Blaze
Written By: Jeet Vachharajani
Picture Courtesy: Cricket Queens
The first thing that came to my mind when India's 'new' new ball pair of Renuka Singh and Anjali Sarvani got together was Wellington's Jess Kerr and Maneka Singh. These are two very similar new ball pairings in world cricket that thrives on swing to take wickets. I know the impact that Jess & Maneka had for the Blaze and why they were so successful in the last year's Super Smash. India had a chance to replicate what the Blace did, but the tactics were far off from being effective and there was a key reason behind that which I will talk about in this piece.
Maddy Green and the Blaze were very smart with their utilization of J. Kerr & Maneka. I have always held the view that if the new ball bowler is a genuine swing bowler who thrives at it, then it's important for that bowler to be given an extended spell, even if there is the slightest of movement on offer. This is because their best chance of taking wickets lies when the ball swings. As the movement disappears - so will their effectiveness! Blaze recognized this & put this theory to use with great results.
A very high % of J. Kerr and Maneka's overs came in the powerplay and the damage they did was the most impactful factor according to me that led to a title win last year. The swing bowlers who can sustain themselves with an older ball are the ones who have variations that are good enough to outfox the batters. The ones who don't often struggle post the 10-over mark in an innings. So if it requires you to finish off their entire quota of 4 overs up front, then do it by frontloading such bowlers.
Just like the Blaze, India also had two such bowlers who take wickets by swing bowling, but none were given an extended spell and that reduced their effectiveness massively after the power play. A key reason that could have potentially stopped India from using them that way was the absence of a third pacer. Blaze had the services of Thamsyn Newton, Natasha Codyre, Caitlin King, Sophie Devine, etc. But India? - NONE! Pooja Vastrakar could enable this ploy in the future, but in this series, India did have Meghna Singh as the only option that didn't prove to be effective.
Despite the absence of the 3rd pacer in the last 3 games, I felt India still had a chance to finish off 3 or 4 overs of Anjali Sarvani within the first 10 overs of the innings. While Sarvani had variations that were impressive, they still lacked the right execution. Whereas Renuka was very impressive at the death with what she was trying to do and we got to see that when she bowled some scorching yorkers in the last over of the 3rd T20I.
The degree of swing in New Zealand vs. India is definitely going to be significantly different, but that doesn't mean that the ball did nothing at the D.Y. Patil or the Brabourne Stadium. The tactic would have been worth it and could be exploited in the future as well when India has an extra pacer in Pooja Vastrakar, but they need to be tactful to realize the same.