Review | CWC22 | M#22- IND v BAN | Yastika's poise, Rana's all-round brilliance keep India's SF hopes alive
Written By: Ritwika Dhar, Jay Dansinghani
Picture Courtesy: Getty Images
Spin vs Spin took the show at Hamilton
We have seen in the last game of PAK v WI how much turn the Hamilton pitch was offering. So, in the do-or-die game against Bangladesh, they brought leg-spinner Poonam Yadav in place of speedster Meghna Singh to strengthen their spin-attack.
From the Bangladesh side, Ritu Moni and Nahida Akter starred in the show. After a flying start of 74 runs in 14.5 overs, India lost their 3 wickets in the next 5 balls. Ritu Moni scalped well-set Shafali on 42 (42) and skipper Mithali Raj in the next delivery on a golden duck. This was only the 2nd time in her career that she got out on a golden duck and the last time was in the last edition of the WC against South Africa. The situation went worse when Pinky ran Harmanpreet Kaur out in the 28th over and India reduced to 108-4. Though India managed to post 229-7 on the board on a pitch that was turning. But credit has to go to the Bangladeshi spinners who were economical and took wickets in regular intervals which halted India's scoring rate.
The pitch was slowing with each passing over and Indian spinners were licking their fingers to have a joyous ride against a fragile Bangladeshi batting order. And Mithali Raj introduced Goswami from one end and Gayakwad from the other. In her 10 overs, she bowled with an economy of 1.5 and took the opening wicket of the innings. Poonam Yadav got a chance for the time in this WC and took a wicket. But it's Sneh Rana who was the pick of the bowlers and took her career-best 4-30. Spinners, who were the worries for the Indian team for the last 1 year as they were not been able to take wickets in the middle-overs have come superbly in this tournament.
The late addition of all-rounders into the side doing wonders for India
India have won 3 of their 6 World Cup games and it's the all-rounders who played a pivotal role for them. Since the addition of pace-bowling all-rounder, Pooja Vastrakar and spin all-rounder Sneh Rana, the fortune of this team has changed drastically.
Till the South Africa series last year, India only used to have batting till no. 5 to 6 only. So, after the dismissal of Harmanpreet Kaur, there used to be almost no one who could add some runs at a healthy rate. All-rounder Deepti Sharma or keeper Taniya Bhatia, all-rounder Dayalan Hemalatha or lower-order batter Veda Krishnamurthy couldn't cement their spot in the team due to their form, low strike rate, and one-dimensionality. Though India lost 4 series on the trot before heading to the World cup. But it's their hunt for batting all-rounders and backing them despite losing games paid off in this WC.
Vastrakar and Rana both are now in the column of highest wicket-takers with 10 wickets in the WC. Both of them opened their World Cup account with a half-century and contributed valuable runs since then.
Wicket-keeper batter is also a job like an all-rounder. And the young 18-year-old Richa Ghosh has filled the big shoes of expectations big time. Since her debut in the ODIs last year, she has grown both as batter and keeper in leaps and bounds.
74-0 to 74-3
After a signature display of powerplay batting, where she took Nahida Akter and Jahanara Alam downtown for a procession of boundaries, Shafali Verma looked to be back to her old, smiling self. Verma’s aggression also allowed Smriti Mandhana the luxury of trying to bat through the innings.
280? Maybe 300?
All sorts of figures were being floated around by fans and broadcasters alike.
Sadly, a trio of rash shots meant that India lost three wickets in the space of five balls without the addition of a single run!
While Smriti Mandhana can be excused for pulling a short ball straight to Fargana Hoque at square leg in otherwise composed innings, the dismissals of Verma and Mithali Raj were less excusable.
Shafali was completely off balance as she walked at a Ritu Moni delivery, which moved away from her. She missed the ball and was caught well out of her crease as she almost tripped over her own feet.
On the heels of Mandhana’s wicket, Shafali should have recognized the need to stabilize the ship for an over or two before attempting to manufacture shots. After all, she has scored three half-centuries in four test innings, so she is more than capable of applying herself.
Then again, she was far from the only Indian batter to struggle with the application against Bangladesh. For the fourth time in six games, Mithali Raj was dismissed after chipping a relatively innocuous ball to a fielder in the circle. That it came off the delivery after Shafali’s dismissal is even more concerning. Other than a spirited half-century against Australia, it’s hard to deny that Raj’s presence in the batting lineup has done more harm than good.
She needs to lead from the front and break her concerning pattern of soft dismissals before expecting more application from the rest of her batting lineup.
Positives in the Indian batting
Positives in batting from the Bangladesh match will be how India’s 6 batters of the top 8 batters contributed 25+ runs. Shafali looked in great touch on such a slower surface where batters were struggling to time the ball. Yastika's consistency at the top is another bright spot in this batting. And important contributions from Ghosh, Rana, and Vastrakar down the order have been the case in this tournament.
India – 229/7 (50) Y. Bhatia 50 (80), S. Verma 42 (42); R. Moni 3/37 (10), N. Akter 2/42 (9)
Bangladesh – 119 (40.3) S. Khatun 32 (35), L. Mondal 24 (46); S. Rana 4/30 (10), J. Goswami 2/19 (7.3)