England triumphed over India as they fought in unusual conditions in the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. They denied India their maiden appearance in the World T20 final.
Although they won the game by eight wickets and with 17 balls in hand, yet this wasn’t a easy walk in the park. England have previously won the tournament in its maiden edition in 2009. They will play their fourth final on Sunday and will face Australia for the third time.
Most of England’s hard work was made easy by their spinners. The combined efforts of Sophie Ecclestone, Danielle Hazell, Katie Gordon and Heather Knight produced 7 wickets for just 71 runs in 13.3 overs.
Smriti Mandhana’s calculated risk-taking in the powerplay made India the happier side. Then Jemimah Rodrigues and skipper Harmanpreet Kaur threatened to take the game away with flurry of boundaries in 12th and 13th over.
But England’s spinners ripped off the middle order, which was India’s problem right through the tournament. India came hurtling down from 89 for 2 to 112 all out.
The total was certainly a below-par one, but no one had thought England would reach it in a friction-free manner. England knew their target and India’s passive field setting made the game easy for the Brits.
An emphatic win for England to make the World T20 final! https://t.co/gj3r0vNcwU #ENGvIND #WT20 #INDvENG pic.twitter.com/QOeKZ2aSg4
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) November 23, 2018
Amy Jones and Natalie Sciver made an unbroken third-wicket stand of 92. Their plan was simple – just to use the depth of the crease and pull the balls to the leg side. Indian spinners bowled shortish and wide of the stumps. Moreover they did not have a single-saving fielder for most of the time.
Deepti Sharma and Radha Yadav put some pressure in the powerplay overs with some dot deliveries. This forced Tammy Beaumont and Danielle Wyatt to take risks which eventually cost them their wickets.
But India kept on pushing the field back which conceded a lot of singles. This is the field setting of a team bowling first and to restrict the opposition to a manageable total. This is not a field setting for a team which is in dire needs of wickets.
Moreover Poonam Yadav dropped a straightforward chance when Sciver was on 2. Once she settled in she showed her nimble footwork against the Indian bowlers.
Both Sciver and Jones reached their half-century mark, with Sciver being the first. India kept on using their spinners despite the batsmen neutralising them. This resulted in not getting a single ball of Arundhati Reddy, India’s lone specialist seamer.
Another important perspective was to leave out India’s most experienced player Mithali Raj. She had scored back-to-back fifties against Ireland and Pakistan.
Taniya Bhatia, who opened in place of Raj, scored 11 off 19 balls. Patil, who remained despite Mithali’s recovery from knee injury, scored a first-ball duck and bowled 3.1 overs expensive offspin with no wickets.
None of the Indian batsmen used the depth of the crease. Harmanpreet, Veda Krishnamurthy and Patil all got out trying to go by the aerial route or down the ground.
There were three run-outs as well which left the team hanging against the same opposition who defeated them in Lord’s last year. India, who came into the tournament believing they can handle pressure situations, still needs to learn more.