In the end, we remember the winner and the big impact performances. Don’t we all? Not an awful lot is saved for the unsung heroes. But true to every cricketing contest- there are often examples where determined efforts led to a difference. Though, they aren’t always reported about. The recent world cup was one of a kind event.
While the new entrant Thailand made everyone sit and notice, final between India and Australia witnessed a record gathering of over 80,000 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. While the hosts and the defending champions Australia claimed a record-fifth title- a feat that’s unparalleled in the annals of the game- the likes of Shafali Verma earned new fans.
Therefore, the least that can be said is that this world cup was a mega success for that format of the game that carries palpable excitement. The Women’s World Cup saw Australia hold the center-stage, yet again, despite having not seen in comfortable situations at all times. It was a series where India, despite seeming in the menacing form at one stage, were given a reality check in the end. It was also a series where South Africa united one and all with sheer awe and the likes of Windies and Pakistan disappointed. England, shockingly, were left in the cold. But what were the unsung performances during the Women’s T20 World Cup 2020?
Let’s therefore make time for unsung performances during Women’s T20 World Cup 2020:
Here are a few unsung performances during Women’s T20 World Cup 2020
Deepti Sharma (49* off 46) against Australia
One of the most unsung performances during Women’s WT20 World Cup 2020 came through the bat of a dogged Indian, one who’s forging her talent to rise as an accomplished all rounder.
During the opening contest, the hosts put India into bat and immediately found their plans working sending Smriti Mandhana back for 10 and Harmanpreet Kaur for 2.
While Shafali Verma was at her counter-attacking best, there was a real struggle during India being 47 for 3.
In walked Deepti Sharma.
That’s when the change began.
She started in a rather slow but watchful pace, her first boundary coming on her the 16th delivery off Ashleigh Gardner.
But throughout the outing, she swept and defended fluently, carving a memorable four through to Deep Square leg, the first for her team after a vacuum of 6 overs.
Deepti also hit two boundaries off Jess Jonassen in the 17th over and remained unbeaten at 49 while India ended up posting a total of 132 for 4.
But did we appreciate this knock enough?
Amelia Kerr (34* off 19) against India
India had asked the dangerous-looking Kiwis 134 to win in their group-stage clash.
But while chasing, the White Ferns got into trouble Rachael Priest (12) and Suzie Bates (6) departed within the powerplay.
The hope was on captain Sophie Devine who was in a formidable form but she failed to contribute much as well. With trouble brewing at 77 for 4 within 15 overs, the game was nearly pocketed by of India until Amelia Kerr’s blistering knock shook everyone.
New Zealand needed 34 runs in the last two overs when Harmanpreet Kaur handed the ball to Poonam Yadav with many expecting a barrage of wickets.
Instead, it was boundaries galore with the fierce right-hander on the strike.
Amelia Kerr crafted one of the most unsung knocks of Women’s T20 World Cup 2020, smashing four boundaries off Poonam alone.
In so doing, playing the assassin, Kerr smashed consecutive fours off the last two in the 19th overs, leaving the ultimate equation as 16 off 6.
On the fifth ball of the 20th, Kerr smashed Pandey for a four-over short third man and made the equation 5 off 1.
The pressure was on Pandey, who would finally defend but who would’ve thought that Amelia Kerr’s solo effort would make the contest such an incredibly close on?
As a Kiwi fan, you so wanted to see Amelia Kerr hit a maximum in the final over. But it was never to be.
Katey Martin (37* off 18) against Australia
After India sealed their place in the semis, the game between Australia and New Zealand became a virtual quarter-final for both. As planned, New Zealand won the toss and opted to field.
Soon, they’d fire the opening salvo, removing Alyssa Healy for just 9. Thanks to Mooney anchoring the inning until the 17th over, in her 60 off 50 and Haynes’ quickfire 19* off 8, Australia went to 155 in 20 overs.
A tough target against Australia all thought. Well, New Zealand felt otherwise, especially, Katey Martin.
With the equation reading 75 needed off 42, the right-hander walked out.
While Maddy Green was taking on the bowlers, Martin gave good support but after her dismissal, the onus came on her experienced shoulders.
And little did she disappoint: hitting a boundary through the covers off Megan Schutt, following it with another through the gap at mid-off.
It was high-octane stuff as Ashleigh Gardner came to bowl the final over with the equation reading 20 off 6.
But Australia functioning like true heroes overpowered eventually. But it wasn’t before some Katey Martin-powered valiance.
Gardner gave away only 5 from the first 4, ensured a win. But Martin was at the job on the last 2 deliveries.
First, a tossed-up delivery was smashed through to the mid-off boundary. The next, a full-toss went for a maximum.
In the end, Katey Martin reduced it down to just 3. You couldn’t be more gutted if you were a Kiwi.
Laura Wolvarrdt (41* off 27) against Australia
If there was the big daddy among the most unsung performances during Women’s T20 world cup 2020, then this was it.
A South Africa minus Kapp and Australia without Perry locked horns in a contest that was as thrilling in its suspense until the end as it was subliminal in entertainment.
Had it not been for Lanning’s 49, Australia may have not managed their modest 134.
But a truncated outcome, ensured by constant rains, in the end, meant that South Africa needed 98 off 13. Not a big ask but given how the top and middle-order nosedived, it all came down to one exceptional fighter from the Proteas camp.
Laura Wolvaardt, who arrived in the 5th over, emerged unconquerably and reduced what was becoming a one-sided show into a “Proteas will fight into the very end” sort of outing.
She was first instrumental in reviving the inning with Luus. Evidence of her class act was evident in the 10th over, wherein she’d smash back-to-back boundaries off Carey.
The final equation: 32 off 18.
With Tryon departing for 1, there were nerves but the youngster was fighting, a figure of grace under pressure.
Wolvaardt smashed Schutt, the number 1 ranked T20 bowler, over cover, converting a fuller one into a full-toss. Then came another flowing boundary.
Not having the strike for 2 deliveries in 20th over wasn’t fun at all for the Proteas. Yet, in the end, she reduced what might have been a massive gap to just 5.
Deepti Sharma (33 off 35) against Australia
Deepti Sharma played the rescuer once again, standing tall through a crafty knock amid massively disappointing times.
Chasing, 184, India found themselves in all sorts of bother with Verma, Mandhana, and Harman walking back nearly soon as they’d arrived
But thankfully, Deepti reduced the hurt experienced during India’s T20 final stalemate. She steadied the ship with a 28-run stand with Veda, and later with another stand with Richa.
Crafty and watchful, she struck just 2 boundaries but held onto an end patiently scoring one among the unsung performances during Women’s T20 world cup 2020.