Melbourne, March 8 (IANS) As India were blown away by Australia who scripted their fifth T20 World Cup triumph in style, the Harmanpreet Kaur-led young team were left to rue their poor fielding and lack of application on the big stage.
India, playing in their first Women’s T20 World Cup final, had no answer to Alyssa Healy (75) and Beth Mooney (78 not out) before folding to 99 all out at the hands of seamer Megan Schutt and spinner Jess Jonassen.
After winning the toss, the hosts elected to bat first and posted 184/4 in 20 overs, largely riding the 115-run opening stand between Player of the Match Healy and Player of the Tournament Mooney.
But both openers were given reprieves by Indian eves early on in their innings.
While Shafali dropped Mooney in the first over, Gayakwad was unable to dismiss Healy in the fourth off her own bowling.
Harmanpreet did rue India’s lacklustre effort on the field at the end of the match but what was also on show was how poorly India batted chasing 185. It was always going to be a steep chase but the way Indian batters threw the wickets away, it showed lack of composure and experience.
This is a young side with the likes of 16-year old Shafali Verma doing the heavy lifting at the top of the order throughout the campaign. It was a lean competition for Harmanpreet and Smriti Mandhana and they failed again in the final. The occasion got the better of Shafali as she was caught behind for just 2.
Poonam Yadav, who shone throughout the World Cup and was the main reason Australia lost to India in the opening match of the competition, fell flat too as did Shikha Pandey who was taken to the cleaners.
Deepti Sharma had a good match as she took two wickets in one over and also top-scored with 33 but it was all too little in the end as the Aussies had all their bases covered.
(The author is a women’s cricket historian)