The third week of January was one of the busiest in the world of women’s cricket. With the ongoing U19 T20 World Cup and the beginning of the bilateral series between Australia and Pakistan and the Tri-series featuring South Africa, India and the West Indies, fans had no dearth of action to keep them engaged.
The last week also gave the fans a few moments which left them confused, shocked and even needlessly disheartened.
Let’s take a look at some of these moments that left people debating on social media:
Lucy Hamilton run out at the non-striking end vs Sri Lanka
The internet was once again abuzz after a run out of a different kind at the non-striker's end. The run out in question happened during The U19 T20 World Cup group stage match between Australia and Sri Lanka.
In the penultimate over of the first innings, Australia’s Lucy Hamilton hit the ball to long-off and comfortably completed a single. She then tried to go back for another run even as Dulanga Dissanayake collected the ball. When the fielder aimed for the stumps at the non-striker’s end, Hamilton stopped in her tracks just outside the crease. At the same, bowler Rashmi Nethranjalee was moving back to collect the throw and ended up blocking Hamilton from her attempt to return to the crease. The throw directly hit the stumps and Hamilton was given out.
While Australia ended up winning the game by a whopping 108 runs, many termed the run out as unfair and had the opinion that the Sri Lankans for “not playing in the spirit of the game.” Some, on the other hand, thought that Hamilton could have made a greater effort to return to the crease.
Need for speed: India’s spin-heavy attack
In the first game of the Tri-Nation series in South Africa, the Indian team fielded a bowling attack that only had one pacer – Anjali Sarvani – and a pace-bowling allrounder in debutant Amanjot Kaur. The fans were amused by the decision to go with a spin-heavy attack in the supposedly pace-friendly conditions of South Africa and some even criticised the team for the lack of trust shown in the pacers.
It continued until the on-air commentator talked about the possibility of some other Indian players in the camp also being hit by the same illness that saw Smriti Mandhana coming to the toss in place of Harmanpreet Kaur. And it meant that India took the field with the available players with Sushma Verma taking the 12th duty. In the end, the lack of pace was inconsequential on a slower surface as India defeated the hosts by 27 runs with debutant Amanjot playing a stellar role.
Nida Dar backs out “just in time”
Facing a whitewash, Pakistan were chasing a mammoth 336 set by Australia in the final ODI of the three-match series. In the 27th over of the innings, Nida Dar backed out from taking strike at the last moment and Tahlia McGrath, who was already in her delivery stride, scattered the stumps of the batter. Umpire Claire Polosak signalled a dead ball and Australia moved on after a few-seconds-long display of bemusement.
However, the commentators weren’t letting go of the matter as easily as the players. The matter was examined with the help of multiple replays and the decision was subjected to extended discussion in the commentary box. Lisa Sthalekar mentioned that it’s the duty of the batter to be ready to face the delivery by the time the bowler is into her stride.
Long after the game was done, the debate continued with cricket fans sharing their thoughts on social media. And there was no consensus with some having the opinion that Dar should have been out while others defended the Pakistan allrounder.
Reading the playing conditions the right way
After winning the Super Six match against Sri Lanka, Indian captain Shafali Verma said that the team couldn’t sleep post their loss to Australia. Not just the players, the fans also had a few tense hours when an incorrect reading of the ICC explainer led many to believe that the loss made it highly improbable for India to proceed in to the semi-finals.
The wordings on the ICC website – “the greatest number of wins in its Super Six Group” - were interpreted by some to mean that in case teams in a Super Six group were tied on points, the teams with more wins in the Super Six stage will proceed to the semis. This could have significantly diminished India’s chances as Australia and South Africa, who had also won their first game of the stage, could go through in the likelihood of winning their next matches against UAE and Sri Lanka respectively.
As people racked their brains to decipher the qualification scenario, the ICC finally released an easier to comprehend explainer that made it clear that the points carried on from the previous stage would also count towards deciding the semi-finalists and the net run rate would determine the top two teams in a group if the points and wins are tied.
This brought much relief to the Indian fans as the team’s chances look much more straightforward now. For Shafali’s team to be displaced from the top two places of Group 1, either South Africa or Bangladesh would need to win their final group match by a whopping margin.
Bonus entry: Haldiram’s hunger for Women’s IPL
The much awaited Women’s IPL is finally starting this year and the BCCI will be auctioning off the teams on Wednesday. Reports emerged that Indian snacks and restaurant company Haldiram’s has picked up the tender document and made a bid for a franchise in the league.
While cricket fans appreciated Haldiram’s for their interest in getting involved in women’s cricket, some also saw the funny side of a popular food chain entering the arena dominated by big business conglomerates, cement companies and Bollywood stars.
Regardless of the outcome, it’s snack time for the fans with a heavy diet of cricket coming their way even as the U19 T20 World Cup moves towards its business end.