India put up just 112 on the board in their ICC Women’s World T20 2018 semi-final against England – “it just wasn’t enough,” concedes Harmanpreet Kaur, the captain.
Could that total have been more if Mithali Raj had been in the playing XI? No one will ever know, but leaving out the vastly experienced opening batter was a big decision, one that didn’t work on the day.
Raj scored 56 and 51 in her two innings in the tournament, but was left out of the team when India played Australia in their last Group B game. India won, and then decided to stick to the same XI for the knockout clash, which they went on to lose by eight wickets.
“We did really well against Australia, and that is the reason we just wanted to go with the same combination,” explained Kaur. “She (Raj) opens. We need someone after Smriti (Mandhana) and me who can bat for us. Sometimes you click, sometimes it doesn't click.”
One way or the other, 112 wasn’t enough, and it took England just 17.1 overs to finish the chase, Amy Jones (53*) and Natalie Sciver (52*) doing the bulk of the scoring.
“Definitely it was not enough to tell you, but still I had enough faith that, if we could have bowled better, we could've won the game,” said Kaur. “But it's part of the game sometimes. I think if we had 140-150 then definitely we would have won the game.”
India’s bowling attack has been built around spin, and in the semi-final, they bowled all their overs with spinners despite having Arundhati Reddy, the medium pacer, in the XI. Strangely, the England spinners seemed to turn the ball a lot more on the Antigua pitch.
“I think in the second innings I think the dew factor was there. But there's no excuse because we wanted to bat first,” said Kaur.
All said, it was a good show from the Indians, who won all their group-stage matches, including against higher-ranked teams like New Zealand and Australia.
Quite a few positives then? “I think the way we play – the aggressive cricket (was a positive). I think earlier we were very different, a defensive team, and now we are attacking. These are things we would like to take away,” concluded Kaur.