Image Credits: AP, BCCI
The India Women team failed to maintain its unbeaten run in the Women's World T20 when it mattered the most, crumbling against hosts Australia in the final by a margin of 85 runs. However, they were certainly impressive till that stage, with the performance of the bowling attack the highlight of the tournament. An exciting win against the Aussies in the opening clash of the tournament was followed by an excellent performance by the bowlers against the likes of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and New Zealand.
The players will certainly have mixed feelings about the campaign having failed to deliver the goods under pressure yet again, following the collapse in the final of the ODI World Cup 2017. The batters need to shoulder the burden at the same level as the bowlers if the team is to taste success in the upcoming 50-over World Cup campaign, where they will be led by Mithali Raj.
Let us take a look at the performances of the players over the course of the campaign, with a rating from scale 1 to 10:
Shafali Verma (7.5/10):
The 16-year-old finished amongst the top five run-getters in the tournament, with 163 runs in five matches at an average of 32.60 and a strike rate of 158.25. Shafali made the fans as well as the opposition dance to her tunes with excellent big-hitting at the top of the order, stunning one and all with her confidence against the best of opposition. The opener played a key role in India's dominance during the powerplay over the course of the tournament, delivering consistent performances despite a poor campaign for established batswomen like Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana. With comparisons to none other than legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar already in full flow, Shafali is considered one of the brightest prospects in the game currently.
Smriti Mandhana (1/10):
The senior batswoman and India's match-winner certainly left much to be desired. Smriti managed just 49 runs in four matches at an average of 12.25 and a strike rate of 125.64, with her poor form putting a lot of pressure on the rest of the batting lineup. One factor behind these poor performances might have been the ill-health and injury which the opener was battling during the course of the tournament. However, there is no doubt that Smriti's poor form certainly hit the Team India camp hard, with her cheap dismissal for 11 in the final a vital blow.
Taniya Bhatia (7/10):
The wicketkeeper-batswoman was arguably the best stumper during the tournament, with her glovework helping the Indian team tilt the match in their favour on many occasions. Taniya's agility and quick-fire reflexes drew a lot of praise with the player's contribution hailed by one and all. However, her performance with the willow was inconsistent with 27 runs in five matches at an average of 13.50 and strike rate of 79.41.
Jemimah Rodrigues (2/10):
Considered the rising superstar of Indian cricket, Jemimah was expected to shine on the big stage with her maturity and clinical nature. However, the 19-year-old failed to hit form even in a single clash, scoring 85 runs in five matches at an average of 21.25 and a strike rate of 88.54. Considering the damage she is capable of inflicting on the opposition, Jemimah's return to form will be crucial for India.
Harmanpreet Kaur (1/10):
The Team India skipper can smash the ball to all corners of the ground when handed an opportunity. However, Harmanpreet failed to deliver with the willow much to the disappointment of the fans and critics, who were optimistic of some fireworks. The 31-year-old managed to accumulate just 30 runs in five matches at an abysmal average of 6 and a strike rate of 71.42. There have been questions raised over her captaincy as well, with some suggesting that a break from leadership will help the player return to form.
Deepti Sharma (7/10):
The all-rounder impressed with both bat and ball, finishing as the second-highest run-scorer while bagging handy wickets. Deepti scored 116 runs in five matches at an average of 38.66 and a strike rate of 95.86, further picking four wickets at an economy rate of 6.50. The player's performances were amongst the highlights of the tournament for the India Women and will be looked back upon fondly by the fans.
Veda Krishnamurthy (2/10):
The batswoman is capable of big-hitting and made a comeback to the side, following a strong performance down the order in bilateral contests. However, Veda who announced her arrival to the fans, with excellent performances in the ODI World Cup 2017, failed to deliver more of the same scoring just 54 runs in five matches at an average of 27 and a strike rate of 105.88. The 27-year-old is amongst the few who can deliver the goods down the order, so a return to form for Veda will have a positive impact on the Indian team.
Richa Ghosh (3/10):
The 16-year-old got a chance to feature in the Indian lineup on only two occasions, and delivered decent performances if not impressive scoring 32 runs in two matches. Richa accumulated the tally at an average of 16.00 and a strike rate of 100.00. The future of Indian cricket is certainly bright with young prospects like Shafali and Richa, growing in experience at a steady rate.
Shikha Pandey (7/10):
The veteran pacer was the second-highest wicket-taker for the India Women and amongst the top bowlers in the tournament, accounting for seven dismissals at an economy rate of 6.85. Shikha brought all her experience to the fore, getting the side out of trouble as evident from her excellent performance in the group stage clash against New Zealand. The 30-year-old was however smacked to all corners of the ground in the final against Australia, recording figures of 0-52 which is the most expensive figure for a bowler in the Women's T20 World Cup.
Radha Yadav (6.5/10):
The spinner was quite impressive during the course of the campaign, playing a supporting role for Poonam Yadav, with wickets at regular intervals. Radha accounted for six wickets in three matches at an average of 13.66 and an economy rate of 6.83. However, she was quite expensive in the final against Australia leaking 34 runs while accounting for only one dismissal.
Rajeshwari Gaekwad (7/10):
The slow left-arm orthodox bowler complimented the likes of Radha Yadav and Poonam Yadav, with economical performances accounting for five wickets in as many matches. Rajeshwari's economy rate of 6.25 is an indication of her disciplined performances and ability to disrupt the opposition's tempo. However, the 28-year-old will be certainly disappointed after failing to hold on to a catch on offer from Aussie opener Beth Mooney in the final, with the drop costing the Indian team dearly.
Poonam Yadav (8.0/10):
The leg-spinner finished as the second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament, with 10 wickets in five matches, with her heroics in the first clash against Australia certainly extraordinary. However, she could have been better with her line and lengths in the final against the same opposition. Poonam was the top performer for the Indian team with the ball, accounting for vital breakthroughs when handed the ball by skipper Harmanpreet Kaur. The bowler will certainly be proud of her performances during the campaign.
Arundhati Reddy (3/10):
The pacer was quite expensive in the two matches where she was handed an opportunity, conceding 66 runs while accounting for only two wickets. Arundhati's economy rate of 8.25 is an indication of her ineffectiveness in Australian conditions, and certainly a welcome wake-up call for the seamer ahead of the upcoming ODI World Cup in 2021.