India women gear up for World T20 with West Indies whitewash

Ahead of the World T20, the Harmanpreet Kaur-led India Women came up with a dominating show as it completed a 5-0 series whitewash against West Indies.

Smriti Mandhana has been in fine form for the Women in Blue.   -  PTI

Amidst all the discussions thrown up by a pink ball in the past few days, a commendable feat achieved with a white ball almost went unnoticed.

The Indian women team's 5-0 demolition of West Indies in the T20I series didn't get as much attention it deserved.

It was the finest performance by the Women in Blue in a T20I series. They had begun playing this format in 2006, with a one-off away match against England.

Before this splendid show in the Caribbean, the best result has been a 4-0 victory in Sri Lanka in 2018 (one match was washed away). That was followed by two whitewashes in which India was at the receiving end.

The 3-0 defeat to New Zealand (away) and England (home) were setbacks after reaching the semifinals of the last World T20 in the West Indies. Against this backdrop, the recent triumph, in the same exotic islands of the Caribbean, assumes significance.

The timing could not have been better, either as the T20 World Cup in Australia is just three months away.

The confidence which comes from a clean sweep will do the Women in Blue a world of good as they look ahead to the tour Down Under. The way they won those games, and the performances by some of the younger members of the team, should make them feel even better.

If openers Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma batted West Indies out of the first match at Gros Islet, off-spinner Deepti Sharma bowled them to an easy win in the second at the same venue.

At Providence in the third game too, Deepti and the other spinners bamboozled the home batters, who were made to crawl to 59 for nine in the full 20 overs.

Indian players Anuja Patel, Poonam Yadav, Harmanpreet Kaur and Veda Krishnamurthy during a match.   -  Vijay Soneji

 

In the fourth match, reduced to nine-overs-a-side, the Indian women could only make 50 for seven, but the bowlers delivered yet again, to give the team a five-run victory.

In the final match, in which the openers failed, the No. 3 and 4 batters Jemimah Rodrigues and Veda Krishnamurthy scored fifties to set up a winning total. It was indeed that kind of a series for the Indian women, when just about everything went right.

Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and coach W.V. Raman should be happy with the way the series played out. Before the team boarded the plane for the Caribbean, the captain had told Sportstar how much she enjoyed working with Raman.

The emergence of the 15-year-old Shafali as a match-winner is the biggest gain for India from the tour. In the first two matches, she made 73 (49b) and 69 not out (35b).

An explosive batter, she adds another dimension to India's batting line-up that has been relying too heavily on Smriti, Jemimah and Harmanpreet. These are indeed exciting times for India's women's cricket.