A four-prong spin attack and a handy seamer in Shikha Pandey has seen India choke teams and defend below-par totals.
With a three-run win over New Zealand Women, India Women made it to the semi-finals of the ICC Women's T20 World Cup, becoming the first team to make it to the next round of the World Cup. Despite senior players like Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana flopping, and the batting not clicking in sync, India Women have defeated teams of the calibre of Australia and New Zealand.
Here we take a glance at each element of the bowling attack and their role.
The game against New Zealand revealed the importance of someone like Shikha Pandey to this line-up. The medium-pacer is the second-highest wicket-taker in the T20 World Cup so far with six wickets in three matches at an average of 8.16 and an economy just above four. Pandey was superb in the back end of the innings for India Women in the group fixture against New Zealand that led to their qualification.
Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Deepti Sharma
The top wicket-taker in the tri-series before the T20 World Cup, Rajeshwari Gayakwad is as simple a spinner as they come. Tight with her channels and fearless in flighting the ball, Gayakwad has been used a lot in the powerplay to contain the top-order batters of opposition sides. Gayakwad's role might seem bizarre in this line-up, but it fulfils an important part of the plan - that of restricting teams from scoring big early on.
Like Gayakwad, Deepti has been used a lot in the powerplays. The left-arm spinner has shone with the bat and less with the ball this World Cup so far, but is a crucial player in India's bowling schemes for the tournament.
Radha Yadav came to the line-up at the expense of Arundhati Reddy, adding to India's spin arsenal. Arundhati had gone at over eight runs per over and Radha was brought in as she fit India's plans of choking opposition sides with spin. With Deepti and Gayakwad bowling a lot early, Poonam Yadav needed a partner to bowl in tandem and Radha fit the bill perfectly.
Poonam Yadav has eight wickets in three matches this World Cup and is the top wicket-taker in the T20 World Cup so far. The short-statured leg-spinner has been the match-winner in the two games against Australia and Bangladesh. Against the White Ferns, she grabbed the big wicket of Sophie Devine to derail New Zealand's run chase but conceded four fours to Amelia Kerr in the penultimate over of the innings. While this was a rare off-day for her, India Women had the bowling attack to cover up for her, suggesting how difficult it is for teams to get past the iron-clad choke the Harmanpreet-led side applies.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / William West