So near, yet so far..!!! is the perfect way to summarize India’s performance in the ICC Women’s World Cup final vs England played at Lords with a handsome crowd witnessing this showpiece event. Having chosen to bat first, England were restricted to a modest total of 228/7, boosting Indian hopes that the world cup will come home for the first time ever.
In the second innings, India got off to a shaky start, losing Smriti Mandhana in the second over itself with just 4 on the board, and her bad form continued after an outstanding start to the tournament. Then came in captain Mithali Raj who steadied the ship along with Punam Raut whose fighting 86 wasn’t enough to see off the game. With 43 on the board, tragedy struck as Mithali Raj was run out for 17, which could have been avoided had she shown a little bit of urgency in that run. That brought in the star of the previous game, Harmanpreet Kaur who took her time to settle down and then broke the shackles to go past the 50 mark. At this point of time, Punam Raut was showing sheer discipline as both of them managed to put on a 95 run stand for the 3rd wicket before Harmanpreet was caught at backward square leg. With 93 needed off 17 overs aggressive Veda Krishnamurthy came in at a critical time and her aggression was evident from ball one itself. Her quickfire 35 off 34 balls helped India to keep the required rate below 6 an over. Everything was going smooth and steady until Punam Raut’s dismissal, which was the turning point in the match from where India lost 7 wickets for mere 30 runs.
India never really managed to keep control of the match from there on even though 19-year-old Deepti Sharma showed a lot of responsibility but didn’t get any help from the lower order. Shikha Pandey’s run out could have been easily avoided. Player of the Match Anya Shrubsole ran through the lower order as she managed to pick up 6 wickets.
Punam Raut showed a lot of composure at the top of the order and so did young Deepti Sharma lower down the order. But this composure is what was needed by the other batters as well in chasing down this modest target.
Mithali Raj’s run out could have been avoided and so was the wicket of Shikha Pandey, the latter being more costlier of the two.
Veda Krishnamurthy has always been an aggressive batter, but in this situation, a WORLD CUP FINAL, with the required rate under control, she should have batted more sensibly.She was the last hope to bring us glory, but her silly way to get out exposed the tail from where we never really recovered.