The Indian women’s cricket team started their campaignin style in the opening game of the tournament against West Indies at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai. A victory margin of over 100 runs represented as comprehensive a win as the hosts could have asked. It was a complete team effort with both the batswomen and bowlers putting their best foot forwards. Having said that, it was the wonderful start that the Indian openers gave the team, which made the job a lot easier for the bowlers. Since India had a big score on board, West Indies were under pressure from the very start.
Thirush Kamini and Poonam Raut, the Indian openers, were unassailable at the start of the innings as they added a massive 175 for the first wicket in 37 overs. Kamini, in particular played a brilliant knock, the innings of the game, en route to her century. She was dismissed for exactly a 100, but had done her job very well. Kamini’s knock, which encompassed 14 fours and 1 six and came off 146 balls, was proof of India’s dominance over West Indies on the day. Raut, on the other hand, could not reach her well-deserved ton, but her 72, which was scored from 94 balls, was equally significant in the context of the clash.
Even after India lost its openers, they did well to ensure that the runs kept flowing. The experienced Jhulan Goswami featured in another important partnership with Harmanpreet Kaur. What the duo did very well was to ensure the run rate was accelerated considerably since they had wickets in hand. Both Goswami and Kaur scored at a much better pace that a run-a-ball. While Goswami slammed 36 off 21 balls with the help of six fours, Kaur was equally good, hammering 36 from 22 balls with four boundaries and two sixes. Through their aggressive alliance, Goswami and Kaur ensured that India’s magnificent start was not wasted.
Although the Indian eves lost quick wickets at the end, a score of 284 was something that would have definitely pleased the hosts and given them the confidence to attack with the ball. As for the West Indian bowling, none of them could make an impression on the Indian batswomen, inparticular on the openers. The fact that West Indies had to utilise the services of as many as eight bowlers, with only three completing their quota of 10 told a tale of utter helplessness. Deandra Dottin got three wickets, but the Indians blasted her for 32 runs, which nullified her effort.
Even after putting up an impressive score on board, the Indian bowlers did not show any hint of complacency. On the contrary, they were on the money right from the start, proving how desperate they are to do well at home. It was a complete team effort by the Indian bowlers, with Nagarajan Niranjana picking up three scalps and Gouher Sultana and Goswami chipping in with two. India have gotten off to best possible start they would have hoped for in the tournament. Hopefully, they can maintain the momentum right throughout the event.
--By A Cricket Analyst