Review | IND v PAK | Mandhana, Rana starred in India's thumping opening victory in CWG
Written By: Ritwika Dhar
Picture Courtesy: Getty Images
Mandhana, Rana starred in India’s thumping opening victory in CWG
Team India came back to the winning ways by defeating the arch-rivals Pakistan. After losing a close battle in the first group game against the current World Champions Australia, it was a do-or-die game for India. But Pakistan couldn’t pose any challenge against both the Indian batting and bowling line-up. And India registered an 8-wicket victory against to put their first 2 points on the table.
Due to the drizzle, the toss was delayed and the game then was reduced to 18-overs-per-side. Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof after their horrible batting performance in the chase against the international cricket debutant Barbados chose to put up runs on the boards first in a high-pressure game like IND v PAK. But batters gave a contrasting start to the plans.
Muneeba showed some spark amidst a sorry batting
Iram Javed nicked the outside off delivery to Yastika and Pakistan lost their 1st wicket without any run on the board. But Muneeba Ali and skipper Maroof quite surprisingly countered that blow with an attacking approach. In the 5th over, opener Muneeba tonked back-to-back boundaries in the 1st two balls against the last match’s star Renuka Singh. In the 8th over, she attacked the other pacer Meghna and scored 13 runs including a boundary and a long six, and shared a 50-run partnership with the skipper. And when Pakistan were gearing up to take the game away from India, Sneh Rana pulled them back. She struck both Muneeba (32 off 30) and Maroof’s (17 off 19) wickets in the same 9th over by an LBW and caught and bowled respectively. And Pakistan lost wickets at a regular interval since then and bundled out in 99.
India's obsession with Radha Yadav
In the flock of the Indian spinners, right now Radha Yadav is the most ineffective and inconsistent. She used to bowl a lot straighter with pace. But in recent times, she has slowed down a bit and also is trying to turn the ball more which negotiating her effectiveness and batters are pouncing on those deliveries. In the match against Australia, Radha was brought back to bowl in the 18th over after Meghna went for 15 runs in the previous over and the most experienced spinner amongst them all Gayakwad still had 2 overs left of her quota. And the outcome – she gave 12 runs in her over and Australia’s chase came down to less than a run-a-ball required.
In the match against Pakistan also, India prioritized Radha over Gayakwad and brought back Sneh Rana in place of her to strengthen the batting and fielding department. Rana who was rested in the Sri Lanka tour got her first chance against Pakistan since the 50-over World Cup. And again, she showed why she should not be dropped from the playing XI by taking a couple of wickets of the set batters in her 1st over itself. Despite ending with a figure of 2/18 in her 3 overs, she gave 9 runs in her 1st over itself which was just after the successful 9th over bowled by Rana. The moment could have shifted to Pakistan batters like Naseem but Pakistan couldn't exploit the weak link of the Indian bowling much.
India were compromising on wicket-keeping previously by playing Richa Ghosh as there is no hitter of the ball like her in the Indian team. But there has been a downfall in her form resulted her exclusion from the main squad. And India brought back India's best keeper Taniya Bhatia in place of her in the squad. In the 1st game against Australia where top-order batter S. Meghana was rested, India had to play Yastika at no. 3 in that match. But she's a kind of a batter who can't add much value to the batting if she bats below than 3-4 position. Her keeping is also not the best. In the match against Pakistan, she missed some catches in thick edges and stumpings which can cost India against higher ranked teams more. As Meghana has come back to the team and likes of Vastrakar and Rana are also expected to be in 1st XI who will play the role of the finishers, it's better to field India's best wicket-keeper Taniya over Yastika.
Emphatic batting performance by the Indian opening duo
While chasing a target of mere 100 runs, the Indian openers did exactly what everyone expected and what they needed to boost their NRR. They put up 61 in just 6 overs before Shafali got out on 16 off 9. S. Meghana who came into the team after recovering from Covid-19, struggled a bit in the middle with her 14 off 16. But Smriti Mandhana rallied through the innings with her brilliant 63* off 42 and helped India to chase it down in just 11.4 overs. Mandhana got a confidence booster with this knock ahead of an important game against Barbados. India won the game by 8 wickets.
The decider – India vs Barbados
As Barbados beat Pakistan in their opening game but lost to Australia in the second, their last group match against India will be the virtual quarterfinal to qualify for the semis. From Group A, Australia became the first team to go through to the knockouts, and India and Barbados will lock horns to decide who will join them from Group A. On Monday, West Indies legend and Barbadian team member Deandra Dottin announced retirement and wrote in her announcement, “The current climate and team environment has been non-conductive to my ability to thrive and reignite my passion.”
While her 14 years of illustrious playing career for the West Indies might have come to a sudden end, she has only stepped down from the West Indian teams' duty. So, her services for the Barbados team might be continued in the remaining CWG game(s). But a humiliating loss against the mighty Aussies and this surprising retirement announcement of Dottin might affect the Barbadian team's morale. Also, with the return of Pooja Vastrakar to the Indian team, India’s some problems in their pace bowling and finishing can get sorted. Nonetheless, Barbados will be the dark horse against India who are the favourites to win this game.
India vs Barbados match will commence at 10:30 pm (IST).
Pakistan – 99 (18) M. Ali 32 (30), A. Riyaz 18 (22); S. Rana 2/15 (4), R. Yadav 2/18 (3)
India – 102/2 (11.4) S. Mandhana 63* (42), S. Verma 16 (9); T. Hassan 1/18 (2)