As Harmanpreet Kaur chipped a tame return catch to Leigh Kasperek following a delivery bowled full and outside off, the dismissal marked another instance during the tournament where the Team India skipper had failed to reach a double-digit score. Not only this, it further marked another knock where the batswoman has failed to score a half-century in T20Is since her century in the opening game of the 2018 T20 World Cup against New Zealand.
Harmanpreet's dismissal exposed the weak underbelly of the Team India middle-order which collapsed in an all-too-familiar manner, following a good start by Shefali Verma. While India managed to reach the semi-finals following a fine performance by the bowlers, it is time to pay attention to the critical factors. With the emphasis on a firing top-order for success in the batting department taken into consideration, the 30-year-old's form comes under the scanner at a different level altogether. Harmanpreet enjoys the ability to change the game single-handedly with her ability to smash the ball to all parts of the ground, with her experience and quick running between the wickets making her a match-winner.
In such a scenario, it is all the more important for the batswoman to bounce back into form with the Indian team targetting a historic triumph in the tournament.
A look at Harmanpreet's numbers until recently, paint a bleak picture with the Team India skipper managing to score just 944 runs in 44 T20I matches at an average of 31.46 and strike rate of 115.26. Such bleak returns considering the immense potential she enjoys is certainly an area of concern, with Harmanpreet's extraordinary 171 against Australia in the semi-final of the ODI World Cup 2017, an everlasting memory in the minds of cricket fans.
Former Team India cricketer Diana Edulji who represented India in 20 Tests and 36 ODIs, further went to the extent of even urging the cricketer to give up captaincy and play her natural game.
"Both Harmanpreet and Jemimah need to pull up their socks. Maybe Harman should give up captaincy and play her natural game. Something seems to be troubling her. But who else takes over then. If Smriti is handed captaincy, it might affect her batting too," she said.
It is also imperative for the second most trustable batter after Harmanpreet in the middle-order based on experience and ability, Veda Krishnamurthy to step up and deliver the goods under pressure. Veda has scored two of the three fastest ODI fifties by an India Women in recent times, with excellent performances during the India A tour of Australia.
It is imperative for the batswoman to replicate that success in the Women's World T20, after gaining momentum which would certainly help Harmanpreet deal with the pressure better.
It will certainly be interesting to watch how the Indian team handles this conundrum, as they gear up for the semi-final.