Mithali insulted by Harman, India thrown out of W Cup
The decision to drop a player of Mithali Raj's calibre backfired during India's humiliating semi-final loss to England in the World T20 but skipper Harmanpreet Kaur said that she has "no regrets" as it was decision taken keeping team's interests in mind.
North Sound (Antigua), Nov 23: The decision to drop a player of Mithali Raj's calibre backfired during India's humiliating semi-final loss to England in the World T20 but skipper Harmanpreet Kaur said that she has "no regrets" as it was decision taken keeping team's interests in mind.Indian batting collapsed as they managed only 112 with eight wickets falling for 24 runs as the visibly upset veteran's blank stare sitting in the dug-out said it all.At the toss, Harmanpreet said: "It's not about not selecting Mithali, it's about keeping a winning combination."The decision was questioned by former England captain Nasser Hussain and former Indian Test player Sanjay Manjrekar on air.However the Indian skipper defended her decision."Whatever we decided, we decided for the team. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, no regrets. I'm proud of the way my girls played through the tournament," Harmanpreet said at the post-match presentation ceremony.Mithali's strike-rate was always an issue but considering that Taniya Bhatia hasn't been able to acclerate and Veda Krishnamurthy in poor form, the decision to drop a seasoned campaigner boomeranged on India."This is a learning for us because we are a young team. Sometimes you have to change your game according to the wicket. England bowled really well, read the wicket really well. It was not an easy total to chase, and our bowlers bowled really well. We stretched the match till the 18th over," Harmanpreet explained.She did admit that mental strength in big games is an issue and her young team needs to garner a bit more of it."I think we are a young team and we still need to work on our mental strength. If we can work on how to play under pressure, that will change how we play these games."Mithali's exclusion prove fatal. India's dreams of winning a maiden global title lay in tatters after a questionable omission and an inexplicable batting collapse saw them crash to an eight-wicket defeat against England in the semi-finals of the ICC Women's World T20.Reigning ODI World World Champions England will now meet Australia in the summit clash after the Southern Stars beat defending champions West Indies by 72 runs.Without Mithali, India lost their last eight wickets for 24 runs to end up scoring a below-par 112 in 19.2 overs. It was a walk in the park for England as seasoned campaigners Amy Jones (53 no, 47 balls) and Natalie Sciver (52 off 40 balls) added 92 runs for the unbroken third-wicket stand to finish the match in only 17.1 overs.It was yet another story of Indian women not showing enough temperament dring big match days, having lost the 50-over World Cup final to England at Lord's last year and the Asia Cup T20 final to Bangladesh, earlier this year.As many as seven players failed to get double digit scores and the spin-attack was unable to adapt to a different surface at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium after playing all their matches at Providence in Guyana.On a track where the ball wasn't coming on to the bat, it was the Englishwomen,. who came up trumps with left-arm spinners Kirstie Gordon (2/20 in 4 overs) and Sophie Ecclestone (2/22 in 3.2 overs) varied the pace of their deliveries, something their Indian counterparts completely failed.Skipper Heather Knight's off-breaks also came in handy as she had the best figures of 3 for 9 in two overs as none of India's middle and lower-order batters could force the pace.Once Smriti Mandhana (33, 24 balls), Jemimah Rodriguez (26 off 26 balls) and skipper Harmanpreet Kaur (16, 20 balls) were dismissed, there wasn't any Plan B with Veda Krishnamurthy completely out of form and Deepti Sharma (7, 10 balls) incapable of hitting big shots.Poor game sense of not reading the pitch also played its part as most of the Indian batswomen charged at the deliveries rather than playing deep inside the crease.That was the ploy that Jones and Sciver deployed while facing the Indian spin quartet, who were below average on the day.At Guyana, it was a slow track where the ploy of taking pace off the deliveries worked for the likes of Poonam Yadav (0/29 in 4 overs), Deepti (1/24 in 4 overs) and Anuja Patil (0/27 in 3.1 overs).However the Antigua track was even slower where they needed change the pace and bowl a little faster. The deliveries being slow through the air gave both Englishwomen enough time to rock on the backfoot and hit shots all round the wicket as a much-hyped clash turned into a lopsided contest.England captain Heather Knight said that she was worried during Powerplay overs when Smriti Mandhana had gone on the offensive but lauded her spinner Kirstie Gordon and Sophie Ecclestone for bringing them back in the game."The match got away from us a bit in the Powerplay but the spinners bowled really well to bring us back. Kirstie has been outstanding on her first tour. Sophie, young spinner as well, has shown a lot of quality over the last year or so."Knight said that she wasn't concerned about the form of her top players like Tammy Beaumont and Dani Wyatt because conditions for batting was challenging in St Lucia."I think the conditions have been very tricky in St Lucia and when we've come here, No worries at all about (the form of Beaumont and Wyatt). The final (against Australia) is going to be a great game, hopefully we'll have a great atmosphere and a brilliant game of cricket.