Women's T20 World Cup: Where the Australia-India Final was won and lost
Australia's 85-run victory over India in the final of the ICC Women's T20 World Cup was truly one-sided, but more than that, there were a plethora of things that separated the two teams at Melbourne.
India's chasing woes
All four of India's victories in the group games came while batting first. When Australia won the toss and opted to bat first, India were put in an uncomfortable zone from the outset. To make matters worse, Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney targeted the Indian bowlers from the get-go, adding 49 runs in the powerplay and going at over 9 RPO to post a mammoth 184-run total, which was always going to be too much for the relatively conservative Indian batting line-up.
Contrasting fielding efforts
Another area of difference which was exposed in the final was the fielding standard of the two teams. India were quite slow in the outfield and failed to prevent a few doubles. More importantly, their catching was embarrassing.
Both Beth Mooney and Alyssa Healy were dropped on single digit scores. While Mooney went on to make an unbeaten 78, Alyssa Healy blasted 75 runs off just 39 deliveries at a strike rate of over 190.
Those two dropped catches hurt the team badly and the entire scenario of the match could have been different had those catches been taken.
Delta in experience
Australia have an entire lot that they have been carrying since the 2018 T20 World Cup. Alyssa Healy, Beth Mooney, Meg lanning, Megan Schutt and Jess Jonassen are all experienced players in their own right.
On the other hand, India had several youngsters in Shafali Verma, Richa Ghosh, Deepti Sharma, Radha Yadav and Jemimah Rodrigues who are second to none in terms of talent but there is no alternative for experience after all.
While this was the 6th T20 World Cup final for Australia, India were playing their first-ever T20 World Cup final and the difference in the body language of the two teams was telling. When Alyssa Healy hit a hat-trick of sixes at one point, the way Harmanpreet Kaur reacted, it was evident that the team did not have enough faith in the change room itself.
The Aussies players, on the other side of the spectrum, were exuding positive energy and that translated in their style of play as well. It only helps that the girls have also seen five editions of the Women's Big Bash League which is something that their Indian counterparts do not possess.
The pressure of a 87,000-strong crowd in Melbourne, the glitz and glamour and the media has been somewhat experienced by the hosts and hence, they dealt with it much better.
Australia's strategic superiority
At a strategic level as well, Australia were far superior than India. India were all over the place with their bowling, either too full or too short and did not bowl enough balls on the mark to keep consistent pressure on the Australians.
On the other hand, there was hardly any ball which was either too short or too full by the Australian bowlers. They were right on the money on the good length and the Indian players had trouble in trying to loft those balls over the infield. As a result, they holed out at the edge of the circle in the process.
The fields that the Australians set for also very well thought out. They had particular fields for particular players. For instance, Smriti Mandhana's favored zone of mid wicket and long-on was entirely covered throughout her innings. The Aussies knew that Deepti Sharma loves to sweep and hence, they were three players for the sweep. This did not allow the Indian players to get their release shots. They could never get off the hook and perished, short of breath.
©Cricket World 2020