India are on a five-match losing streak and will need an all-round performance to avoid equalling their worst losing streak in the format when they take on England in the second T20 International in Guwahati on Thursday.
India suffered a crushing 41-run loss to England in the first T20 international of the three-match series on Sunday, continuing the slump that started in the semi-finals at the World T20 last year. However, since the loss to England and the controversy over Mithali Raj’s exclusion and removal of Ramesh Powar as interim coach, India went down 0-3 in the series in New Zealand after winning the ODI series. Things seems to be heading in a similar direction against England as well.
The loss on Sunday meant the WV Raman-coached side has a lot of work to do before the T20 World Cup in Australia early next year.
Chasing England’s competitive 160/4 after winning the toss in the series opener, Indian batters suffered yet another collapse and were restricted to 119/6. The slump was further compounded when the top-order saw a rare double failure from both new captain Smriti Mandhana and the young Jemimah Rodrigues.
With Harmanpreet Kaur absent due to injury, the onus was on Mandhana and ODI captain Mithali to play a bigger role but she was dismissed on 7. Veda Krishnamurthy, who made a comeback to the team, also struggled, scoring 15 off 25 balls.
Eventually, it was left to the lower-order to save the day and though the likes of Shikha Pandey (23 not out), Deepti Sharma (22 not out) and Arundhati Reddy (18) did try, the task was too tall for them.
This is the aspect, India will need to work on the most. The batting lineup is no short of experience, even with debutant Harleen Deol at the top. Between Rodrigues, Raj and Veda, India should be able to carry an innings together even when Mandhna has a rare failure as the over-reliance on her could burden the captain further. The middle order chinks have been exposed far too often when the top-order fails and England’s bowlers will look to target them once again.
On the bowling front too, apart from medium pacer Shikha Pandey (1/18) and leg-spinner Poonam Yadav (0/18), others leaked a lot of runs. The one over from Arundhati Reddy, when skipper Heather Knight (40 off 20) smashed five consecutive boundaries, proved to be decisive in the end. Openers Tammy Beaumont (62 off 57) and Danielle Wyatt (35) looked in great touch as well for the visitors with an opening partnership of 89 runs.
The match starts at 11 AM on Thursday.