India’s Shikha Pandey insists India go for the jugular to extend Healy’s slump

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India’s Shikha Pandey wants her side to bowl aggressive lengths to Australia’s ailing top-order and hunt early wickets in their ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 opener.

The 30-year-old has been India’s go-to seamer since the 2018 Women’s T20 World Cup and often the only frontline pace option, with Harmanpreet Kaur regularly using spin for 13 or 14 overs.

Pandey revealed India’s strategy will be to bowl wicket-taking lengths in the powerplay as the only way of stopping the flow of runs in the early stages.

“As an opening bowler, I’m obviously thinking about the early breakthroughs and that doesn’t change,” said Pandey, India’s fifth-highest T20I wicket-taker.

“In the first six, we are trying to take wickets and then it’s about containing the batters before coming back and bowling the best you can in the death overs.

“I would say 150 is now a par score in a T20 game, so the first six overs batters actually get a lot of freedom and try to hit as many runs as possible.

“You just have to stay in the moment and change your lengths according to the wicket and the conditions.”

Pandey’s new-ball partner is invariably a slow bowler, typically leg-spinner Poonam Yadav or off-spinning all-rounder Deepti Sharma.

Whichever Indian takes the new ball in Friday’s opener at Sydney Showground, they’ll hope to extend Alyssa Healy’s run of single-digit scores in her last six T20 matches across tri-series and warm-ups.

But Australia keeps on coming, as South Africa found out on Tuesday when dismissing Healy, Beth Mooney, Ashleigh Gardner and Ellyse Perry in the powerplay wasn’t enough to defend 147.

Pandey, who made her T20I debut in 2014, went wicketless in the final three matches of the tri-series against Australia and India before taking one for 18 and striking an unbeaten 24 in warm-up victory over West Indies.

The Goa native admits she’s had to adjust her stock length to Australia conditions but won’t be afraid to mix it up, including with the use of slower deliveries.

“In the tri-series, I was not getting the kind of in-swing that I ideally want,” she said.

“I actually had to change my lengths, I was trying to bowl the hard length and in-between mixing it up because if you aren’t going to be bowling to your strengths sometimes it becomes easier to hit.

“We also try to get slower balls going and to do that you have to get into a rhythm first. No-one comes and bowls a slower ball first up, so it’s when you’ve got going that you try those changeups.

“Our fast-bowling coach for the tri-series helped us a lot in terms of assessing the batters’ mindset and it’s about a combination of everything. I’d say mixing it up is the mantra right now.”

Source: ICC Media Zone

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