Her form and skills have been compared to Virat Kohli. The women’s team, with the persistent failure of the middle-order, tends to over-rely on Smriti Mandhana to clock up big scores. With the Women’s T20 World Cup around the corner, the attitude might hurt Team India’s World Cup ambitions.
Team India will be up against the defending champions and hosts Australia in the opening match of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 on 21st February, 2020.
Under the leadership of Harmanpreet Kaur, a strong and well-balanced Indian team would be expected to raise their performance at the big stage. There will be high expectations from the team to go a step further and lift the title this time around. However, the team’s over-dependence on star batter Smriti Mandhana is the biggest threat to India’s ambitions of winning the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020.
An unpredictable middle-order and its recent failures have also been a worrisome aspect for the team. It has immensely affected the team’s ability to close games from winning situations. So, a high dependency on the top-order, particularly Smriti Mandhana, might as well cost India the T20 World Cup title.
Heads Up! Is the over-reliability on Smriti Mandhana and middle-order failures going to cost Team India?
- The recent failures of middle-order has been a matter of concern for the team.
- Smriti Mandhana believes that the top-four batters will need to do the bulk of the scoring.
- Can the team live up to the expectation of ‘most feared’ batting line-up in the competition?
- India start their T20 World Cup campaign against Australia on 21st February, 2020.
Middle-order failing to close games
The Indian middle-order has recently failed to close games quite evidently. The batters have often let the game slip from a winning situation.
In the recently concluded tri-series, the team collapsed from 115 for 3 to 144 all out while chasing 155 in the final against Australia. A win in the final against Australians would have been a massive boost for the team heading into the World Cup.
Similarly, in the final of the 2017 Women’s World Cup, the team lost its last seven wickets for 28 runs to concede the World Cup to England by 9 runs. Such instances have often put a big question mark on the team’s middle order.
Over-reliance on Smriti Mandhana
The dashing Indian opener, Smriti Mandhana, has been in a phenomenal run of late. Mandhana, along with teenage sensation Shafali Verma have been consistently laying a strong foundation at the top of the order.
Barring a few performances from the captain Harmanpreet Kaur, the poor run of the middle-order has often made the efforts of the openers go in vain. As a result, the over-reliance on Smriti Mandhana has often led the team to push themselves into hot waters. The tri-series final against Australia and the 2017 World Cup final are a clear testimony to this.
High time for the middle-order to rise
In a recent interview after the tri-series final, Smriti Mandhana believed that team India’s top four will need to bat longer to protect the inconsistent middle-order during the T20 World Cup.
“I think we (top-four) need to try and bat long. We must try not to get out in the 16th or 17th over and the problem will be sorted if we can stay until the 20th over” – Smriti Mandhana has urged the top-four Indian batters to bat longer
Smriti Mandhana who recently rose to 4th place in ICC T20I rankings also agreed that the Indian middle-order needs to pull their socks up.
“The middle order could definitely improve. We (as a team) can be very unpredictable on our day” – Smriti Mandhana wants a better show from the middle-order
Touted as the ‘most feared’ batting line-up
The Australian team’s head coach, Matthew Mott, has termed India’s batting line-up as the ‘most feared’ among all the teams in the World Cup. The team indeed has a great balance and a nice mix of players and is one of the ‘favourites’ to lift the title.
Hence, it’s the perfect time for the Indian middle-order to rise up to the occasion because an over-reliance on Smriti Mandhana might well cost India the T20 World Cup. The team surely wouldn’t want to have a repeat of the 2017 World Cup final.