The dew factor in playing their first match of the tournament under lights negated the effect the Indian spinners might have had, Smriti Mandhana, the vice-captain rued.
India fell away after a good start with the bat to post just 112 against England in the semi-final of the ICC Women’s World T20 at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua on Thursday, 22 November. Despite going with an all-spin attack, they couldn’t break England’s resistance, sliding to an eight-wicket loss.
“We didn’t consider the dew factor. We had played 11am matches, and had not played any 8pm match. Even when we practised, we hadn’t seen any dew, so we didn’t think it would play a factor. But that played a huge factor as rather than spinning, our ball started skidding,” said Mandhana.
India’s fielding and field settings in the game also came in for scrutiny. So far, they’ve gone with one-sided fields, getting their bowlers to work on wide lines and drying up the runs. It worked when they had a good total on the board, but it didn’t help when what was needed was an attacking approach.
England came prepared for the tactic, and worked the gaps on the leg side, especially at mid-wicket, and Harmanpreet Kaur wasn’t quick enough to adapt. “It’s pretty standard to what we’ve seen from them before,” said Amy Jones. “It's sort of what we prepared for. So no, not surprised [at the fields]. I think we played them pretty well.”
Mandhana admitted that the team should have done better at saving the singles. “We could have had more single-saving fielders in the ring so that we encouraged them to hit us over the top, because only wickets could win us the match and not playing 20 overs. I thought we could have been better on that part.”
She, however, had no regrets about going with an aggressive approach with the bat, on a pitch that all day had demanded that the batters grind it out, and sticking to the approach of roles over reputation.
“Definitely it has worked for us in the last three months. Whatever happened [in the semi-final], if you just [discount] it, the way we have played over the last three months as a group has been brilliant. No one even gave us a chance to do well in the World Cup.
“Ramesh [Powar, the coach] had given specific roles to each person, and that helped in the last 14 games we played in Sri Lanka, against Australia A and in last four matches.
“Only if you lose one game, you cannot change your tactics or the strategy that has worked for you. Going forward, it is best to give one person a specific role, or if that person is not able to do it then you can identify other players who could be able to fit into that role.”