The much-awaited ICC T20 World Cup is all set to begin in Australia on 21 February with the opening encounter between India and the defending champion Australia.
For India, their inconsistency in the middle-order has been going on for quite some time now and their performance in the recently-concluded tri-series in Australia is an ideal example. Despite being at the winning stage at one point, they failed to win the title in the final.They won and lost a game each against England and Australia before losing to the mighty Australia, who have won the T20 World Cup a record four times out of the six seasons played till date.
India’ middle and lower-order woes remains the same and they need to work a lot if they want to beat the likes of Australia and England in the knock-out stages, something that India failed to since beginning. Even this has been been acknowledged by India opener Smriti Mandhana also.
However, India have a 16-year-old Shafali Verma in the opening alongside Mandhana and they need to provide with a flying start throughout the competition. On the other hand, captain Harmanpreet Kaur will also try to get back in form before the opening game.
In the bowling department, they will bank on spinners as they have not many quality pacers to choose from. Shikha Pandey, who is considered as the only experienced pacer in the playing eleven, has the huge task of providing early breakthroughs as well.
“As an opening bowler, I’m obviously thinking about the early breakthroughs and that doesn’t change,” said Pandey, India’s fifth-highest wicket-taker in T20s.
“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,” she added.
However, India will take on Australia, who recently won the tri-series and would love to maintain their form. Although they got a big blow as their pacer Tayla Vlaeminck has been ruled out of the competition due to a foot injury. Off-spinner Molly Strano has replaced her in the tournament.
“There’s no one quite the same as Tayla so we will have to slightly tweak how we are going to go about it, but generally our plans are pretty flexible anyway, so we don’t feel like it’s going to be too much of a disadvantage.” said Australia captain Meg Lanning
Australia: Erin Burns, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes (VC), Alyssa Healy (WK), Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Meg Lanning (C), Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham.
India: Taniya Bhatia (WK), Harleen Deol, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Richa Ghosh, Harmanpreet Kaur (C), Veda Krishnamurthy, Smriti Mandhana (VC), Shikha Pandey, Arundhati Reddy, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Pooja Vastrakar, Shafali Verma, Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav.