Yorker best last-ball option: Jhulan Goswami
Jhulan Goswami wasn’t surprised that Shikha Pandey opted for the yorker to end the 20th over against New Zealand on Thursday. “It is the best option,” she said.
“Some days it will work, on some it will not. That doesn’t mean you won’t go for the best option. She has always had control, is mentally strong and that is why she backed herself. The fact the team is in a good space, having won the first two games, too would have played a part in her decision,” said Goswami, the world’s leading wicket-taker in women’s ODIs.
To that, Goswami added skipper Harmanpreet Kaur’s supporting the medium-pacer from Goa. “In a line-up stacked with spinners, Harmanpreet and the team management backed her and today, she delivered. Shikhu is also the most experienced bowler in the team after Rajeshwari Gayakwad (left-arm spinner) and Poonam Yadav (leg-spinner).”
Goswami and Pandey have shared new ball duties for India since 2015-16. “She would always try out things at nets, even attempting yorkers with the new ball. Practising yorkers by placing a boot or a bottle is something we have been doing for long. We would then calculate the percentage of how many we could successfully land,” said Goswami, 37, who has retired from T20Is.
“And she was never shy of seeking advice. She would always ask, ‘Jhulu Di, am I getting it right and things like, ‘how should I plan net sessions’. She is hard working, be it at the gym or on the ground. She is a good bowler, an effective batsman and a safe fielder,” said Goswami.
In India’s opener where Yadav’s googlies foxed Australia, Pandey, 30, took 3/14 in 3.5 overs. Against Bangladesh, she took 2/14 and on a cold, windy Thursday in Melbourne’s Junction Oval, Pandey stopped New Zealand from getting 16 in the final over after removing opener Rachel Priest. Her figures of 4-0-21-1 was the most economical among Indian bowlers.
“These were against good teams. In her own way, she is having a good WorldT20. She was not in the squad for the last World T20 (in 2018). It is only from the 2019 tour of New Zealand that Shikhu returned to the T20I squad. She had told me, ‘Didi, if I am back in T20 squad, I will do justice to my talent,” said Goswami.
With Amelia Kerr and Hayley Jensen having added 28 off 15 balls --- Yadav leaked 18 in the 19th over --- Kaur gave Pandey the last over. Jensen inside-edged the first ball for four and lofted the second through Pandey’s fingers on the off-side. Kerr refused the second run and Kaur walked up and spoke to Pandey. The third ball was fuller and yielded a single. With 10 needed off three, Pandey delivered a yorker and it fetched one run, off a mistimed hoick. A scooped four by Kerr then reduced nine from two to five from one. With Kerr on 34 off 18 balls, Pandey landed another wide yorker which hit the pad. India won by four runs and entered the semi-finals.