The carnival of women’s cricket, the T20 World Cup will start within a few weeks in Australia. A total of 10 teams will be participating in the mega event and divided into two groups, with five teams in each group.
India are placed alongside the favourites Australia, ranked 3rd New Zealand, Asia Cup champions Bangladesh and underdogs Sri Lanka. The road will not be easy for the women in blue to make into the knockouts but if some of the players in the side get going then India are one of the teams that will go into the semis along with defending champions Australia.
Here’s a look at the expected game-changers in the world cup
All the top sides have hard hitters who can easily go over the fielders’ head near the boundary line but India always lacked such a player in the top order. Since the arrival of Shafali, things all changed, she even made Smriti Mandhana second-best player in the last two series.
She became the youngest Indian player to score a fifty, beating the record held by Sachin Tendulkar, won the player of the series in West Indies, leading run-scorer in Challenger trophy are some of the achievements by this next big thing of Indian Cricket from Haryana.
Shafali is the only Indian Women player to have a T20I strike rate over 140 and this makes her one of the feared players going ahead.
The experience of Smriti will be invaluable for India in the World Cup. She has played the Women’s Big Bash in 2018 season for Hobart and knowing the Australian conditions more than anyone in the top order.
In 2019, Mandhana scored most runs for India in this format and the team will be hoping her to continue good form.
The opening pair of Shafali and Smriti will be one of the deciding factors for the side in the World Cup.
Kaur will be leading Indian women’s team in the T20 World Cup, she had completely changed the way of women’s cricket in one innings against Australia in the ODI World Cup final in 2017.
Kaur will be aiming to lead India to glory with her captaincy and batting. There were lots of issues between the coach, Mithali, Kaur during the last World Cup and that ended badly as India lost in the semi-final against England.
Kaur is one of the most explosive batswomen in the middle order and her finishing skills are highly rated so she is going to be one of the most important players for India in the World Cup. She is the only Indian woman to complete a hundred matches in the shorter format so she is vastly experienced as a player and has played all over the world, who will be helping youngsters like Jemimah, Shafali in the top order.
India’s most experienced bowler in the shorter format, she is the leading wicket-taker for India, who has played 62 matches and picked 85 wickets in T20 Internationals.
Wrist spinners have been a success story in a shorter format for men and women, they have the ability to take wickets even if they are having a tough time and that stand out from the finger spin. The way Poonam uses the flight, gets more turn has been causing lots of problems for all bat women around the world.
On the Australian big grounds, it won’t be easy for any batwoman to hit Poonam out of the park and she has an economy under 6 so she will be a big challenge for any team.
Since the retirement of Goswami, Shikha Pandey has taken the leadership charge of the Indian Women team in T20’s.
She hits the pitch hard and having yorkers in the arm will be good for the Indian team in Australian pitches. With Poonam Yadav, Anuja Patil, Radha Yadav around as spinners, the overs from Shikha Pandey will be important for India to add more pressure by bowling hard length in middle overs and taking wickets with the new ball in power play.
Shikha Pandey will also have to share the experience with upcoming star Pooja Vastrakar. She is also similar to Shikha, both will be having a big role to play against top sides like Australia, New Zealand and England in the World Cup.