The most awaited ICC T20 World Cup is around the corner. Before that, three of the best teams in the cricket world - Australia, England and India are currently taking on each other in a T20 Tri-series. While three teams have won one game each, the next set of games will be crucial to qualify for the final.
The series has shifted to Melbourne from Canberra and India need to look some of their loopholes before taking England in their next game.
Over dependency on top-order
India are very much dependent on their openers, especially on experienced Smriti Mandhana. The flamboyant opener can turn the table any day which she started showing against Australia (35 off 23 with 3*4 and 2*6). After having a stunning T20 Challenger Trophy earlier this year, Mandhana's opening partner Shafali Verma showed her calibre. But she failed to maintain that formidable form in the Tri-series.
India's top-order comprised of another two talented players - youngster Jemimah Rodrigues and captain Harmanpreet Kaur herself. While Jemimah failed to get going not only in this series but also in the Challenger Trophy too, it was Harmanpreet who stood up. Kaur is currently the highest run-getter for India with 70 runs from 2 matches.
Kaur has become the saviour for her side so far. While a stable and unbeaten knock of 42 against England witnessed her taking the side home, she was the second-highest run-getter with 28 runs in the second game against Australia. India's top-order scored 182 runs in 158 balls in the two matches so far, which is nearly 74% of the team's total.
The team can't rely on their top-order all the time. When they fail in any game, middle-order needs to step up but here the middle-order has done nothing so far.
Middle-order woes continue
Despite having a pool of talented players in the middle-order, Indian team hardly gets their service when in need. They have the quality players like Veda Krishnamurthy, Deepti Sharma, Shikha Pandey etc. who all have failed to step up in the last game against Australia.
India were 78 for 4 at the start of the 14th over and reduced to 82 for 6 in 14.4 overs where Veda Krishnamurthy (8), Taniya Bhatia (0), Deepti Sharma (0) and Arundhati Reddy (4) all got out within 10 deliveries. They eventually finished with 103/9 in their allotted 20 overs.
India's biggest worry will be this - how to sort out the middle-order woes as this has become a normal issue for them. They need to work on these loopholes before taking on England in their next game.
The spin-dependent bowling attack, inexperienced pace and Poonam Yadav's absence
India's bowling attack led by the spinners - Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Radha Yadav and Deepti Sharma in the absence of their key spinner Poonam Yadav. The leggie is the most successful bowlers in the circuit but currently out due to finger injury. Rajeshwari has been doing exceptionally well.
Her purple patch started in the T20 Challenger Trophy where she was the highest wicket-taker and here too with 4 wickets from 2 games for India. Along with her, Deepti Sharma and Radha Yadav have been doing well so far. But they are certainly missing Poonam in the middle and another pacer to support Shikha Pandey.
In the match against Australia, their bowling attack nearly pulled off the game as they stretched the game till the penultimate over but they didn't have enough runs on the board to restrict the opponents.
However, Pandey is the only experienced pacer in the circuit who has taken 3 wickets so far while conceding 60 runs. Both Pooja Vastrakar and Arundhati Reddy are injured, if not they have flopped so far. India are currently way behind in this matter other than two teams.
This is the high time India should work on these loopholes before the second phase of the league games starts. This will not only help them in the Tri-series but also the mega event - ICC T20 World Cup 2020.