The Indian women’s cricket team again gave in to stage anxiety and lost to powerhouse Australia by nine runs in the Commonwealth Games gold medal game on Sunday.
With questionable strategic decisions and even worse shot choices, the “Women in Blue” lost the mental game and the last five wickets for 13 runs.
Losing is a habit, just like winning, and in the end, the Southern Stars’ confidence won out as the opponents put a lot of pressure on themselves.
Despite a valiant defensive effort from India, Beth Mooney (61 off 41) helped Australia reach 161 for eight with a stroke-filled half-century.
It should have been an easy chase for India with 50 required off the last six overs, eight wickets in hand, and Harmanpreet (65 off 43) during a magnificent inning.
However, India managed to mess it up as they lost eight wickets for 32 runs and again fell short in a big final. Also evocative of their defeat in England in the 2017 ODI World Cup final was India’s puzzling batting meltdown.
Following the loss of the openers, Harmanpreet and Jemimah Rodrigues (33 off 33) had a 96-run partnership and were in control of the chase when the latter was dismissed, which led to the collapse.
With three run-outs in one inning, the hitters created means to be removed. India ultimately had three balls remaining when they were knocked out for 152.
Even if Harmanpreet and Jemimah’s strokes were dubious, they could not be held responsible for the complete capitulation.
India lost the match between 14.3 and 15.5 overs, or a span of nine deliveries, when Megan Schutt and Harmanpreet bowled Jemimah attempted a suicide lap-scoop off Ashleigh Gardner, which an alert Alyssa Healy expertly pouched.
Coach Ramesh Powar and captain Harman made dubious judgments by sending Concussion sub-Yastika Bhatia after Radha Yadav, and Deepti Sharma went for a nonexistent second run.
India, who defeated England in the semifinals on Saturday, earned a commendable silver medal.
Furthermore, the debut of women’s cricket in the Commonwealth Games was mostly successful. A large crowd saw the first-ever CWG final at Edgbaston.
Earlier, on a bright and beautiful day, Australia elected to bat.
Renuka Singh, India’s standout pacer in this competition, again contributed to an early victory by catching the dangerous Alyssa Healy’s leg before with a ball that shifted slightly.
The Indians successfully attempted the DRS in the last seconds.
After a 78-run partnership between Mooney (61 off 41) and captain Meg Lanning (36 off 26), it seemed Australia would once again bat India out of the game, just as they had done in the T20 World Cup final a few years before.
Lanning made her intentions known as she sent a length ball from Renuka over mid-off for the game’s opening six runs.
The much-criticized Indian fielders had a great day in the middle. Lanning gave it off with a tight run, and Radha Yadav and Deepti Sharma both made excellent catches.
Radha took a low diving grab at backward point to dismiss Tahlia McGrath, who played the game despite testing positive for COVID-19, while Deepti snagged one off the right hand to reject a well-set Mooney.
Australia seemed to be on track for a score of 180 or more, but India battled back, claiming five wickets for 35 runs in the last five overs.
As India deployed seven bowling options, Renuka finished with respectable stats of 2 for 25 in four overs while fellow pacer Meghna Singh was under-bowled.
The most expensive bowler who bowled their whole allotment, Sneh Rana (2/38), claimed two significant wickets in Mooney and Ashleigh Gardner.