Report Card: How India’s players fared in the T20 World Cup

Harmanpreet Kaur gives a final pep talk before heading on to the field. © ICC

India may have had a stellar run in the league stage of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020, but they went down rather tamely in the final. Here’s a look at how their players fared in the competition.

Shafali Verma – 4.5/5

A teenager, among the top five run-getters in the T20 World Cup, and easily one of the most explosive batters in the competition – Shafali Verma couldn’t have asked for more, could she? Her scores in the tournament read 29, 39, 46, 47 and it was believed that she could potentially get to her maiden T20 World Cup half-century in the final. An anti-climatic end notwithstanding, Verma had a terrific tournament and pretty much carried India’s batting through the course of the tournament.

Poonam Yadav – 4/5

If it was Shafali Verma who was India’s star with the bat, Poonam Yadav had a ball with the ball, literally. Until the final, though. She had spun a web around the Aussies in the opening encounter, when she picked up four wickets. But in the final against the same opponents, she claimed just one scalp and finished the competition with ten wickets – joint-second with Jess Jonassen. Her tally is the most by an Indian in a T20 World Cup.

Radha Yadav – 3.5/5

Radha Yadav wasn’t among India’s first-choice spinners in the XI, but she was never easy to ignore. Six wickets in the competition – four against Sri Lanka – Yadav made a record of picking up at least a wicket in a game in 24 successive T20Is, going past Megan Schutt’s 23. In the title-clash against Australia, she provided the breakthrough by dismissing Alyssa Healy. Her contribution with the bat against New Zealand (14 runs, including a six in the final over) helped India post a decent score, which proved to be just enough.

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Taniya Bhatia – 3/5

Taniya Bhatia was easily the best wicket-keeper of the competition. Ten dismissals – six catches and four stumpings – effecting four of them in a game, the most in the tourney, Bhatia did her job pretty well with the gloves. What’s creditable is that most of these came against spinners, standing up to the stumps and having very little time to react. She was also promoted to no.3 against New Zealand and stepped up with a gritty 23 with the bat.

Deepti Sharma – 3/5

It could be said that Deepti Sharma had a poor T20 World Cup. This, after having a good tri-series prior to this tournament. In that series, she picked seven wickets in five games, being the joint-second highest wicket-taker. She began the World Cup with an unbeaten 49 with the bat that helped India post a good score. But with the ball, she failed to pick wickets, returning with just four. Moreover, in the final, she was out of colour, dishing out full tosses in the very first over.

Shikha Pandey – 3/5

Shikha Pandey, after the T20I tri-series, said she had worked out a way to bowl in conditions which didn’t aid swing. Hard lengths were the solution for her. Using that she picked up seven wickets in the T20 World Cup, second-most for India. Moreover, her calm head and experience helped India defend 15 in the final over against New Zealand. But she came up against a ruthless Healy in the final, being carted for 52 in her four overs, including 23 off an over.

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Rajeshwari Gayakwad – 3/5

Before being called up to India’s T20 World Cup squad, Rajeshwari Gayakwad had last played a T20I in 2018. She backed up the call by being the leading wicket-taker in the T20I tri-series, by virtue of which, she was preferred to a young Radha Yadav at the start of the World Cup. But Gayakwad couldn’t deliver consistently on the big stage, returning with just five wickets. In the final, she grassed a simple return catch offered by Beth Mooney on nine, and rest was history.

Harmanpreet Kaur – 2/5

Harmanpreet Kaur had one of her poorer ICC tournaments and a low phase in international cricket with the bat. She couldn’t buy a run and ended up a mere 30 runs to show in the competition. When she promoted herself to no.3 against Sri Lanka and hit a six and a four, it seemed as if ‘Hammerpreet’ was back. But it wasn’t to be and her failure in the final just added to India’s misery.

But it wasn’t all bad for Kaur, as she led the side well and managed to keep them together. India was one of the youngest units in the competition and Kaur showed the ability to guide them in the right direction – giving them the freedom to play their way. Moreover, her move to delay Poonam Yadav’s introduction in the opening match proved to be a master-stroke.

Veda Krishnamurthy 2/5

Potential, tick. Experience, tick. Promise, tick. Delivery? Meh! Veda Krishnamurthy has perennially been an under-performer at the highest level, showing glimpses of brilliance before quickly fading away. This edition of the T20 World Cup was no different – a match-defining cameo, following by a string of failures. When her unbeaten 20 against Bangladesh helped India put up a good total, it felt as if she’d found her touch, but she endured low scores in the next two times she batted in, including the final. In the field – as always – Veda was one of India’s best and most reliable catchers.

Arundhati Reddy – 2/5

The lack of seam-bowling options in India’s T20 World Cup squad coupled with Pooja Vastrakar’s injury meant that Arundhati Reddy would have had to shoulder more responsibility as a seam-bowling allrounder. After a good tri-series Reddy was picked for the opening match of the World Cup. She went wicketless but bowled decently. Against Bangladesh, she picked up a couple of wickets, too.

Richa Ghosh – 2/5

Richa Ghosh would have had a memorable T20 World Cup. For starters, she scored more in two innings that Harmanpreet Kaur did in five. In the final, she came into bat as Taniya Bhatia’s concussion substitute and made a good account of herself, hitting some classy shots over cover.

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Smriti Mandhana – 1/5

Smriti Mandhana clearly had a tournament to forget. She batted four times in the T20 World Cup and not once did she cross the 20-run mark – her best was 17. The last time she went through a patch where she failed to reach the 20-run mark was back in September 2018. But never did she appear to let that affect her on the field, being on the mark be it inside the 23-metre circle or on the boundary.

Jemimah Rodrigues – 1/5

85 runs in five innings aren’t numbers that show Jemimah Rodrigues capabilities. She looked close to her fluent best against Bangladesh, when she made 34. But otherwise, it was a tough tournament for the teenager, who also made the only duck by an Indian player this T20 World Cup.

DNP: Pooja Vastrakar, Harleen Deol