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The Times of India
The Times of India
Manuja Veerappa | TNN

Women's T20 World Cup: Back to the drawing board for India women cricketers

India fared poorly as a fielding unit in their soul-crushing semifinal defeat to the Aussies. But there are positives too from their campaign...

In Cape Town on Thursday, the Indian women cricketers walked out onto the field with the intent of halting defending champions Australia's stranglehold on the ICC Women's T20 World Cup.

As a fielding side, their efforts were not a patch on their resolve. Australia's two top run getters - Beth Mooney and Meg Lanning - were handed three lifelines. Fielding was sloppy resulting in at least 15 runs gifted and the bowling for the most part was pedestrian. Barely 22 balls into their batting, India were down by three wickets. The popular notion was - they had choked yet again.

But that was before the Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues show. Their 37-minute association was all spunk and heart. From looking like also-rans to coming agonizingly close before losing by five runs indicates progress, according to former chief coach of the Indian women's team WV Raman.

"The best thing about India was the way they chased. During the innings break, they would have felt disappointed and their spirits would have been down because of a few mistakes made on the field and some extra runs conceded. But when they came out to bat, they did not allow that to deflate them or dampen their spirits. That is a huge progress as far as the team is concerned. T20 has a lot of emotional highs and lows, on that front they did really well," said the former left-hand batter with over two decades of coaching experience.

1/10:Women's T20 World Cup: India falter to nemesis Australia again

2/10:India's perennial problem

<p>India wilted under the pressure of a knock-out game yet again after skipper Harmanpreet Kaur's freak run out as defending champions Australia entered their seventh successive Women's T20 World Cup final.<br /><br /></p>ANI

3/10:Sloppy fielding from India

<p>India's shoddy fielding and catching allowed Australia to post a challenging 172 for four after Meg Lanning opted to bat in the semifinal.<br /><br /></p>PTI

4/10:Harmanpreet, Jemimah lead counter-attack

<p>At 28 for three, India were down and out but Harmanpreet (52 off 34) and Jemimah Rodrigues (43 off 24) produced a counter-attacking 69-run stand off just 41 balls to bring the team back in the game.<br /><br /></p>ANI

5/10:India lose the advantage

<p>India needed a very gettable 39 off the last 30 balls with five wickets in hand but as it has been the case in the past, the team came up short to finish at 167 for eight.<br /><br /><br /></p>AFP

6/10:Australia continue to reign supreme

<p>India had lost to five-time champions Australia in the previous World Cup final and more recently in the CWG final last year.<br /><br /></p>PTI

7/10: India's agonising wait

<p>Another loss in a knockout game extended India's long wait for a world title.<br /><br /></p>PTI

8/10:India suffer early blows

<p>Despite losing the destructive Shafali Verma and star batter Smriti Mandhana cheaply, Jemimah and India skipper ensured boundaries.<br /><br /></p>AFP

9/10:Harmanpreet gets going

<p>Harmanpreet, who was a doubtful starter for the do-or-die game due to high fever, got going with a crisp six over long on off Jess Jonassen.<br /><br /></p>ANI

10/10:Mooney extends her record

<p>India's bowling effort also left a lot to be desired as Beth Mooney extended her envious record against India with a classy 54 off 37 balls.<br /><br /></p>Getty Images
Women's T20 World Cup: India falter to nemesis Australia again

As India begins the rebuilding process, Raman believes a conducive environment is essential. "There is a need to provide an environment where independent thinking and personalities are allowed to evolve. That is when they will go and do what is required. You cannot be moulding one sort of a personality off the field and expect them to contradict it on the pitch. Unless they have the freedom to figure things out themselves as individuals, it becomes difficult for them to do so as cricketers," he said.

On the field, Raman pointed towards investment in development of all-rounders as the way forward.

"There has to be focused camps at the National Cricket Academy. Before the start of the World Cup, I kept saying that India's chances of winning hinged a lot on the form and fitness of Pooja Vastrakar. India missed her in the semifinal after she was ruled out due to illness. We need to have more allrounders like her. Emphasis has to be on focused approach and programs for cricketers with all-round abilities. Also, they should look for some more fast bowlers," said Raman, who was coach of the team between 2018-2021.

While senior players like Harmanpreet and Jemimah remained composed, there were players who wilted under pressure. Asked to weigh in on the need for a mental conditioning coach, the 57-year -old said, "It will be of help but mental toughness does not come overnight. It has to be a holistic approach."

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