Favourites India tick all the boxes in Asia Cup
When the Asia Cup started in Bangladesh, the Indian women’s team were tipped to reach the final. After all, they have done so in every edition of the tournament since its beginning in 2004.
Published: 15th October 2022 09:54 AM | Last Updated: 15th October 2022 09:54 AM | A+A A-
CHENNAI: When the Asia Cup started in Bangladesh, the Indian women’s team were tipped to reach the final. After all, they have done so in every edition of the tournament since its beginning in 2004. The last time, in 2018, in what was a shocking defeat, India lost to the current hosts Bangladesh by three wickets to lose the title.
Making it to the final was never going to be a problem for them. Which is why, even before the tournament, the Indian team management seemed clear on what they wanted to get out of the multi-team event. For them it was all about giving opportunities to those who were warming the bench. Barring injuries, they had played the same 12 or 13 till the Asia Cup this year. And when the experienced top-order failed in crunch games, the rest of the batting-order could not get the team across the line.
One look at the top performers so far tells the story. Smriti Mandhana (332 runs), Harmanpreet Kaur (295), Shafali Verma (238) and Jemimah Rodrigues (218) led the T20I batting charts for India till the Asia Cup. The likes of Sabbineni Meghana, Dayalan Hemalatha, Kiran Navgire, Pooja Vastrakar and Richa Ghosh hardly had opportunities to make a mark. And with the T20 World Cup coming up, they wanted to use this Asia Cup as preparation for the marquee event. The goal was to make sure that the aforementioned names are provided the opportunities to win matches on their own.
As they are set to take on Sri Lanka in the summit clash on Saturday they are happy with the way some of the players have performed so far. “We don’t want to depend on one or two players. I am really happy, every game we are getting different match winners. They are giving their best and whoever is getting the opportunity, they are availing,” Harmanpreet said on Friday.
However, most of the experimentation has been in the batting department only. India seem to be taking a clear direction where they want to play as many all-rounders as possible with two pacers in the shortest format. Whether it will work on the longer run, especially in South Africa, it remains to be seen.
India are clear favourites to lift the title. Even if something dramatic happens and the result doesn’t go their way, they have ticked the boxes they wanted to do in the Asia Cup.