ICC Women’s T20 World Cup – No certainties: Australia not at its best as India sets the pace

Less than halfway through the tournament, we’ve already seen an interesting array of results and pendulum swings in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.

 

India has been the high flyer with two wins from two games, while the hopes of expected front-runners Australia and England have been left hanging in the balance.

 

The tournament began in style with India pulling off a shock 17-run win over the hosts and title favourites, after Australian captain Meg Lanning somewhat surprisingly chose to bowl first.

 

Sixteen-year-old Indian opener Shafali Verma hit a series of sparkling boundaries as India cruised to 0-40 after four overs, before slipping to 3-47. Although only one more wicket fell while Deepti Sharma top-scored with 49 not out, India’s total of 132 did not appear enough.

 

Australia appeared in control of the run chase, as Alyssa Healy reached a half-century with a six to take the score to 2-67 in the 10th over. But from the next delivery, the game turned around completely.

 

Healy chipped a simple return catch to Poonam Yadav, who subsequently mesmerised the Australians with her flight, deception and wrong ‘uns. It really was sensational leg spin bowling! Yadav had Rachael Haynes cleverly stumped before Yadav bowled the dangerous Ellyse Perry first ball to make the score 5-76. Yadav would have snared a hat-trick had wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia not spilled an edge from Jess Jonassen, before Bhatia caught an edge in Yadav’s next over.

 

Yadav nearly had a fifth wicket as Ashleigh Gardner swung at a half-tracker and was comically bowled off a deflection, but Gardner was reprieved when replays confirmed that the ball bounced twice; constituting a no-ball.

 

Australia’s lower order crumbled despite Gardner’s efforts, with the last wicket falling with the penultimate ball of the final over as the run rate was out of reach.

 

The West Indians began their campaign with a comfortable win over Thailand, which battled to just 78 runs for the loss of nine wickets after consuming all 20 available overs.

 

Bizarrely, the last six overs of Thailand’s innings featured six wickets for the addition of only 22 runs. In reply, the West Indies wobbled at 3-27 before an unbroken 53-run stand sealed the deal, with Stefanie Taylor starring with 26 not out following her bowling figures of 3-13.

 

New Zealand had a convincing seven-wicket victory against Sri Lanka, but the outcome could so easily have been vastly different.

 

The Sri Lankans had 60 runs on the board when the first wicket fell in the eighth over, before a major blow came in the 12th over with the total at 87 when Chamari Atapattu departed.

 

Too many wickets were thrown away as Sri Lanka was confined to 7-127. Had the Sri Lankans managed another 20 or 25 runs, the match could have had a totally different complexion. Even so, the Sri Lankans could have defended their modest total had they not put in such a sub-standard fielding display.

 

New Zealand’s first wicket fell at 18 before Suzie Bates gave a chance to slip before she had scored, but the easy catch was dropped. The experienced Sophie Devine, who finished with 75 not out, also gained a vital reprieve as an outfield catch was fumbled.

 

Bates’s belated departure revived Sri Lanka’s hopes as 70 runs were needed from the last 55 balls, but some sloppy fielding proved costly. A no-ball that was hit for four also cost Sri Lanka dearly as Maddy Green struck the ‘free hit’ for six, making the target so much easier.

 

England’s total of 8-123 also proved inadequate, although the South Africans faltered in the latter part of the run chase before winning with two balls to spare.

 

Natalie Sciver made 50 at number three for England, but five batters were dismissed for single-figure scores as South Africa’s bowlers were generally tidy.

 

Ayabonga Khaka nabbed 3-25 while Marizanne Kapp and Proteas captain Dane van Niekirk claimed two wickets each.

 

South Africa was 1-6 before a second wicket partnership of 84 had the Proteas on course for victory, but then the score slipped from 1-90 to 3-90 as in-form duo Kapp and van Niekirk lost their wickets. Thirty-four runs were needed from the last 23 balls with seven wickets in hand, and two fresh batters at the crease.

 

Clever bowling from left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone ensured 33 runs were required from the last three overs.

 

Sciver was not so lucky as the wicketkeeper missed the first ball of the 18th over which went for four, before a speculative shot from the third ball produced another boundary. It was sheer luck rather than good batting that enabled the Proteas to score 14 runs in the 18th over and turn the game. Such are the vagaries of cricket!

 

When Chloe Tryon struck the fourth ball of the 19th over for six, the requirement was just nine runs from eight balls. But was there another twist in the game? Tryon was bowled with the final ball of the over, meaning nine runs were needed from the last six balls.

 

Two singles reduced the requirement to seven runs from four balls as the experienced Katherine Brunt tried to restrict the scoring. Mignon du Preez emerged as the hero, as she hammered a six through the legside to level the scores before swatting a full toss away for the winning run.

 

In the fifth match of the tournament, the dismissal of Atapattu again spelled doom for Sri Lanka. She reached a half-century but then departed, and her team could manage only 31 runs in the final six overs.

 

Nicola Carey and Molly Strano took two wickets each for the tournament hosts.

 

Chasing a modest 123, Australia was reeling at 3-10 as Beth Mooney was smartly stumped off Shashikala Siriwardena, after left-armer Udeshika Prabodhani produced two jaffas to rattle the stumps of Healy and Gardner.

 

Haynes and Lanning steadied the innings, but as was the case in their previous match, the Sri Lankans rued letting chances slip through their fingers.

 

The Sri Lankans wasted their review – courtesy of the DRS – when they incorrectly thought they had Lanning caught behind just four balls after Mooney’s dismissal, before Australia’s captain edged to the wicketkeeper four overs later and luckily survived the appeal. To add to the touring team’s woes, Haynes scored two runs when a catch was fumbled at deep mid-on in the 13th over.

 

Nonetheless, a winner was hard to pick as 59 runs were needed in the last seven overs.

 

Haynes used her feet superbly and lofted the last two balls of the 16th over beyond the boundary, reducing the requirement to just 26 runs from four overs.

 

Haynes was stumped for 60 before Lanning was crucially dropped at the wicket two balls later. Two boundaries in the ensuing three balls seemingly sealed the result, although another wicket fell before Australia required four runs in the last over.

 

Perry scored the winning runs with three balls left to improve Australia’s record to one win from two games, while Sri Lanka sank to successive defeats.

 

In the sixth match of the competition, Verma produced another dynamic display for India, this time hitting four sixes and two fours in a knock of 39 off 17 balls against Bangladesh.

 

Handy contributions down the order enabled India to tally 6-142, with Bangladeshi duo Salma Khatun and Panna Ghosh each taking 2-25 from four overs.

 

Murshida Khatun and Nigar Sultana Joty made 30s in the run chase, but India made regular breakthroughs as Bangladesh struggled to stay within reach of the required run rate. It was a commendable effort from the Banglaedshis in any case, although the final margin of 18 runs was comfortable enough.

 

Poonam Yadav excelled again as she took 3-18, while Shikha Pandey and Arundhati Reddy claimed two scalps each.

 

 

Join The Footy Almanac’s AFL tipping comp (Title: ‘Footy Almanac 2020 Tipping’) HERE

 

 

Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.

 

Do you really enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE

 

About Liam Hauser

A Queenslander through and through, Liam went out of his comfort zone as he had a thoroughly worthwhile time in Tumut and Gundagai from 2008 to 2016 before enjoying a year in Gunnedah. His strongest sporting interests are State of Origin, Sheffield Shield, Test cricket and the NRL. His sporting CV doesn’t have many highlights, although he once top-scored in a warehouse cricket match with 54 not out at number 10, and shared in an unbroken last wicket stand of 83 with the number 11 who scored an undefeated 52. Liam has written books including State of Origin 35 Years, A Century of Cricket Tests, A History of Test Cricket, The Immortals of Australian Cricket, The Immortals of Australian Rugby League, and The Great Grand Finals: Rugby League's Greatest Contests. Also a huge fan of Electric Light Orchestra.

Comments

  1. Stephen Frances says

    Nice summary Liam, I look forward to future articles on ICCT20 World Cup.

  2. G’day Liam, thanks for the piece.

    I didn’t see any of India v Bangladesh. And I haven’t visited the highlights. Poonam Yadav really caught the attention of the cricket world v Australia. I see she took wickets again. I’m interested to know how she bowled. Is she going to be a factor in the tournament?

  3. Hi John, I didn’t see the India v Bangladesh game either. The teenager, Shafali Verma, really caught my attention with her attractive stroke-play at the top of the order against Australia, and it looks like she continued in the same style in her next outing. With seven wickets in two games, Poonam Yadav definitely looks capable of making a huge impact in the competition. She certainly bamboozled the Aussies! But as we know, in cricket, fortunes can change quickly (for better or worse). Sri Lanka’s sloppy fielding and catching meanwhile reinforces the “catches win matches” cliche. The fact that Australia and England began their campaign on a losing note just goes to show that plenty of teams are capable of giving the competition a real shake: always good to see.

  4. And your early prediction Liam?

  5. At the moment, it’s a toss-up between Australia and India. I’d be surprised if Australia doesn’t click (sooner or later), while India is the current pacesetter.

  6. Hopefully the Aussies are working their way into the tournament and we’ve yet to see their best. But they’re in a tough group with no leeway for a further slip-up. But any competition is always the better when fancied teams suffer early setbacks. England are similarly situated. There’s a lot to like about the style of the Indians and Sri Lankans, but I think the Windies are the team most likely to cause an upset.

  7. JTH and LH
    Poonam Yadav is the “X,Y & Z” factor in this series. She made the Australians look second rate. Dare I say it but “The New Warne” has arrived (sorry Dr.K.S). Disappointed that the Indians did not receive adequate and deserved coverage on the TV on Friday night.
    Great to see that England and Australia are not having it all their own way. What about Thailand? If I could help them I would – what a wonderful story.
    The Oz team has been a bit complacent i feel and lucky to get home last night. Too much expected of Meg Lanning. Could the media interview someone else from Oz. Megs is worn out which shows in her batting. Like West Indies but think England and South Africa favourites. Australia need to think about team selection and not pick the old hands. Sutherland and Wakeham need to be picked.

  8. The positives for Australia:
    Last night they found a way to win after collapsing to be 3/10;
    Lanning got 40-odd despite being in very scratchy form (which says plenty about her class);
    The innings of Haynes was excellent v Sri Lanka. But again, her dismissal (ridiculously running down the wicket) opened the door slightly.
    Had Sri Lanka fielded better, they may well have won.
    Overall, the bowling and fielding has been very solid under pressure, restricting both India and Sri Lanka to mediocre scores.
    The negatives:
    The form of A Healy. Despite her first-up 50, her soft dismissal was the catalyst for the collapse. She needed to bat through. Her keeping is now a little off also.
    The obsession with a right-hand/left-hand combination is farcical. Get your best batter in. Perry coming in at 7 is ridiculous.
    Australia struggle against spin and slow bowling. All opponents should be taking the pace off.

    Shafali Verma is a star.
    India were very clever in not playing Poonam Yadav in the tri-series.

    Thanks for the report, Liam.

  9. Hi Citrus

    Agree re Friday night. I think the audience was pretty good – just not on free-to-air.

    The tournament has certainly opened with a complication to the anticipated direction of the narrative. And I think the characters are recvealing themselves. Yadav being one of them. To take up an idea considered in Stephen King’s On Writing (picked up by Ben Kirkby in his review): does plot drive character or does charcacter drive plot? (Excellent summary of King’s book by the way)

    Whatever the case amy be, I agree with you CB, that she looks like having a real impact. Your tip for the winnner of the whole thing?

  10. Liam Hauser says

    Check out the highlights of Poonam Yadav’s wickets against Bangladesh.
    https://www.t20worldcup.com/video/1623316
    Yadav often gives the ball plenty of flight, but she has the uncanny knack of landing it in the right spot quite consistently. Whenever a batter tries to attack her – whether leaving the crease and/or playing across the line – it sometimes comes unstuck because she’s obviously quite deceptive. Certainly her wrong ‘un has tricked a number of opponents. The batters find it hard to get to the pitch of the ball which evidently doesn’t land where the batter may expect, nor does the ball necessarily do what the batter expects.
    It will be interesting to see if batters from various teams keep getting bamboozled, and if they try to attack her, and what the results may be. Opponents will surely be wary of Yadav, and need to think about how to handle her. How much can they plan, and how much simply has to be done off-the-cuff?
    One thing’s for sure: it should always be fascinating to watch Poonam Yadav bowl!
    Better still, she seems very down to earth, so every success will be well deserved.

  11. Liam, thanks for adding those highlights. So illustrative. Poonam Yadav really does use old-fashioned flight. Some brilliant camera angles there too, which show when the batter is playing. Love the angle from mid-off.

    Credit to the keeper Bahtia too. Especially in the under-edge.

    And check the bounce on the stumping. Suggests a lot of overspin, and a firm pitch.

    Really interesting. Really worth a look.

  12. Steve Frances says

    John, I agree with Liam that Australia and India are still favourites, but Pakistan haven’t played a game yet, although I don’t think they will be a threat. Have you been on ‘Outsiders’ in recent years? Off point, but I haven’t watched it since Fox started the cricket channel.

  13. Hi Steve. Haven’t done much ‘Offsiders’ over the past two years – lots of kids’ sport, and other responsibilities. But I did the show Sunday just gone – and couldn’t stop raving about Yadav. Cheers JTH

  14. JTH –
    I think that England would be my first pick. If Australia can pick the right team and manage Perry they can win.
    Must take the gamble of playing the youngsters though. Too much of a sameness about the attack – a bit like, dare I ay it, Geelong.

  15. The power of The Almanac!
    Notice CA took our advice and did not have Meg Lanning doing interviews yesterday!

  16. Steve Frances says

    JTH, good luck with your kids sports. Sorry I missed the latest Outsiders. BTW, I think Liam should do a story on the Thai Women’s team. Many Aussies visit Thailand for holidays, but few know it as a cricket playing nation(as do most of the Thai population). They are just a team of young girls living their own dream of playing in their first ever World Cup. Their smiles and “wai’s” are great for this WC.
    Steve.

  17. I’m with you on that Steve. The ball’s in your court Liam…

    Citrus, I have noticed that thesis re the ageing Australianteam has some currency. Certainly on social media outlets.

    I reckon it’s impossible to pick.

  18. Luke Reynolds says

    Fantastic coverage Liam. Really enjoying the tournament, keep the articles coming!

  19. Andrea Arragon says

    Great write up Liam

Leave a Comment

*