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WWC17 Report Card: India

India enjoyed a fantastic tournament, only falling at the very last hurdle in a nail-biting final at a sold out Lord’s. Here’s an assessment of the team’s campaign.
India Women celebrating

Results summary
Beat England by 35 runs
Beat West Indies by 7 wickets
Beat Pakistan by 95 runs
Beat Sri Lanka by 16 runs
Lost to South Africa by 115 runs
Lost to Australia by 8 wickets
Beat New Zealand by 186 runs
Beat Australia by 36 runs
Lost to England by 9 runs

What went wrong?
India’s tournament started perfectly with four wins from its first four games, including overcoming hosts England in its first fixture. Losses to South Africa and Australia left the Indians needing to beat New Zealand in what was effectively a quarter-final to qualify for the semis. This was done with ease, setting up a revenge encounter with Australia. Harmanpreet Kaur’s brilliant 171 not out almost singlehandedly blasted the underdogs through to the final, bringing India face-to-face with England in front of a packed-out Lord’s. What followed was a tooth-and-nail back-and-forth tussle, but at 191-3 chasing 229, India had its noses in front. From there however, Anya Shrubsole made a decisive intervention and India fell an agonising nine runs short of a first World Cup title.

Positives to take home?
More than any individual skills, it was belief this sideshowed that shone through during the campaign, with India always finding someone prepared to grab the game by the scruff of the neck. Whether it was Smriti Mandhana getting them off to a flier in the opening match against EnglandPunam Rautdoggedly holding innings together, Harmanpreet’sbrutal knocks or left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad coming into the team for a must-win game and taking five-fer, never has India seemed less reliant on Mithali Raj with the bat and Jhulan Goswami with the ball. The two were still key members of India’s campaign – they are too good not to be – but as they reach the twilights of their careers, it will be immensely comforting for India that the next generation looks ready to step into the void.

Areas for improvement?
It would be wrong to criticise too harshly a campaign that only came unstuck at the last possible point but India might feel it was over-reliant on its top four. It was telling that once the top order had been dismissed in the final, India folded. It might just take a rejig. Deepti Sharma – with an ODI average of 44 and a high score of 188 – would suit the No. 5 position, since she can bat long or hit big as required, which would allow Veda Krishnamurthy to inject some vim into the innings from No. 6, freer of responsibility.

Overall grade
A

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