India's senior pacer Shikha Pandey believes it was not just their fielding which let the team down in the Women's T20 World Cup final against Australia where they faced a major defeat at the MCG. An unimpressive start with the ball and in the field undermined India's attempts to overhaul the four-time champions in their own backyard with the support of 86,174 fans on Sunday.
India's attempt to chase 185 was always going to be difficult, with leading wicket-taker Megan Schutt taking the first four-wicket haul in a final to restrict Harmanpreet Kaur's side to 99 all out. "Nerves weren't really a factor. Once you get onto the field, you just zone out. I don't think I felt nerves," Shikha said told the ICC website.
"Initially, if you gift chances to batters inform they're going to use them. It could have gone either way but those chances costed us. We could have been better in all three departments, it wasn't just the fielding," she added.
Healy and Mooney's efforts shattered the confidence of the Indian bowlers from the first over itself and Pandey, who was at the receiving end, said even she had to appreciate the former's brutal hitting. "You do have plans against a batter-like her, but the kind of shots she played were amazing. Sometimes you can just stand and acknowledge, and appreciate the shots she was playing. It was one of those days when I was on the receiving end."
Pandey who was hammered for 52 runs in her quota of four overs was hit for three boundaries from her first 12 overs delivered in the tournament and the only one that got away in the first two games was struck by Healy in the early overs of the opening game.
Teen sensation Shafali Verma, who had a rare failure with the bat in the final, had dropped Alyssa Healy on nine. However, Shafali was far from the only guilty party when it came to grassing chances with Rajeshwari Gayakwad dropping Beth Mooney in single figures and fielding errors ensued from the likes of Poonam Yadav.
(With agency inputs)