India did little wrong for the better part of the chase against England in the final of ICC Women’s World Cup 2017. They were in control while Punam Raut, Harmanpreet Kaur and later Veda Krishnamurthy. Punam Raut and Harmanpreet Kaur shared a 95-run stand for the third wicket and even when the latter got out, it looked like India would get to the target of 229 runs. But it all went horribly wrong after Raut’s wicket fell. Veda Krishnamurthy could not hold a falling batting lineup together on her own and India ended up losing their last seven wickets for a paltry 28 runs. Here are a few areas that looked to be where England were superior to India on the day.
Experience: In the end, England, who won their fourth World Cup title on Sunday, showed why experience matters. While India were playing only their second final, first in 12 years, England were finalists five times and looked relaxed even when the going got tough. India, on the other hand, looked under the weather when Krishnamurthy was dismissed. They looked like a team of players who did not know what to do in a situation like this and they can’t be blamed. It really was the first time they found themselves in a situation where they were so close yet so far from a World Cup title.
Homework: She starred for India and helped the team win against Australia in the semi-final. Her 171-run innings had 20 fours and seven sixes. But, Harmanpreet needed a different approach in the final. The England bowlers bowled a straight line to her. That is why she could play only one run on the off-side while 50 other were on the leg side.
Fielding: Sarah Taylor effected two run-outs and almost pulled off a stumping of Deepti Sharma. Fielding, more often than not, is where a team can win or lose the mental battle, which is central to a match as big as a World Cup final. England made the difference in the field on Sunday. Indian were guilty of overthrows and misfields which cost them many runs. On the other hand, England were spot-on and did not give any easy runs.
Pressure: Mithali Raj was not the picture of calmness as she has been for the better part of the tournament after the dismissal of Veda Krishnamurthy. The nervousness she felt seemed to be one that was shared by the entire team. Every time a new batter came in, she brought in that nervousness with her. It is the only way one can explain why a player would go for a lofted shot when only 11 runs are needed to win from 18 balls. Those nerves, in the end, cost them the match and the Cup.