India’s campaign in the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 has come a full circle. They started off on 24 June beating the hosts England by 35 runs.
On 23 July, India would like a repeat of their first match while England would like to extend their unbeaten run since their opening match loss.
While England are looking for their fourth World Cup, India would like to go one step better than their 2005 campaign to be first-time title holders.
Cricket has evolved and so have the players — the change is noticeable by looking at India’s road to the finals in 2005 and 2017.
The Indian women’s cricket team were known for their affinity towards chasing a total as opposed to batting first. In 2005, out of the six completed matches (two matches were washed out) before the final, India chased in all of their group matches and batted first only in the semi-final. In contrast, the 2017 team has batted first in six out of their eight matches before the final.
Another sign of the changing times is seen with the highest score by the team in 2005 being 204 whereas the 2017 team has scored in excess of 250 thrice with a high score of 281.
With power hitting and bigger targets becoming the norm, the team’s run rate has increased from 3.64 in 2005 to 4.74 in 2017.
Records suggest that the bowling was effective in both editions with the 2005 team bowling out the opposition five times while the 2017 team has done it four times.
It is also interesting to note that India beat New Zealand in the 2005 semi-final. Incidentally back then, New Zealand were the only team to have beaten India in the group stages.
Similarly, India beat Australia in the 2017 semi-final. Australia is one of the only two teams to have beaten the 2017 finalist in the group stages, the other being South Africa.
This year’s team has also seen four centurions as opposed to the 2005 team where the highest score was 91* by Mithali Raj, who is one among the centurions in this year’s edition.
India in 2005 scored a total of 801 runs in their run to the final compared to the 1798 runs in 2017. However, it is also got to do with the fact that in 2005, India bowled out the opponents for scores of 65, 80, 139 and 135.
The biggest difference in the road to both finals was well surmised by the captain of India in both the editions, Raj.
Raj, in an interview to ICC, said, “It’s going to be a different experience to what I have faced in 2005. Back in 2005 it wasn’t as big a base as it is now. I think in 2005 hardly anybody knew that India have qualified for the final because they were all too involved in men’s cricket. Nobody really paid attention to the India women’s team.”
She added, “The match was not televised as well, so we could not really garner that many viewers at that point of time.”
In 2017, on Sunday, when the Indian women’s cricket team takes on the hosts in the final, all eyes will be glued on the screens to watch Raj’s team cement a place in history.