Women’s T20 World Cup: India take on England in semifinals

Women's T20 World Cup
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SYDNEY: Firm title contenders after a thrilling unbeaten run in the gathering stages, India should guarantee a strong all-round execution to show signs of improvement of impressive England in the elimination rounds of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup here on Thursday.

India has been the best side up until now and they would look for their lady the last debut in the show-stopper’s history with a success over England on Thursday.

In the earlier seven editions, India has never reached the final but this time, they have emerged as serious title contenders after a string of superlative performances.

They began with a win over defending champions Australia and since then have gathered strength with every match, beating Bangladesh, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka to top group A with eight points from four matches.

The Indians are in red-hot form, but history favors England as they have won all the five matches played between the two sides in this tournament.

The last time, the two teams met in a T20 World Cup, England won by eight wickets in the semifinals in West Indies. Before that, India lost in 2009, 2012, 2014 and 2016 editions — all in group stages.

“Subsequent to losing the last elimination round, as a group we understood we need to fill in as a unit, and right now you will see that our group is functioning as a unit and we are not dependent on only a couple of players,” India Captian

Harmanpreet Kaur said, referring to the semifinals loss in 2018.

Seven players in this Indian team played in that semifinal and they would be looking to turn the tables on the Englishwomen this time.

The Indians will likewise take certainty from the success against England in the tri-arrangement in Australia in front of this World Cup.

On the form, most of the Indians are in top form with teenage sensation Shafali Verma being the leading batter, having scored 161 runs in four innings, which has seen her rise to the top spot in the ICC women’s T20 rankings.

With a batting average of 40.25, the 16-year-old is on the third spot among leading run-getters in the tournament, followed by England’s Natalie Sciver (202) and Heather Knight (193).

One-down Jemimah Rodrigues is also in good touch and has made useful contributions though she has not scored big so far, with 34 being her highest.

The middle-order has also stepped up whenever needed with Veda Krishnamurthy, Shikha Pandey, and Radha Yadav making their presence felt in different matches.

The two most experienced players in skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and opener Smriti Mandhana have, however, not been living up to the expectations and the semifinals could be their big comeback.

In the bowling department, leg-spinner Poonam Yadav is on top of the tournament chart with nine wickets from four matches. She has been ably supported by Shikha Pandey (7 from 4 matches). For England, who have qualified for the semifinals after finishing second in group B with three wins and one loss, batting has been their strength.

Natalie has plundered 202 runs with an average of 67.33, including three fifties, and the Indians will have to find a way to stop her in her tracks. In the bowling department also, England has the likes of left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone (8 wickets) and pacer Anya Shrubsole (7 wickets) who are at the second and third spot in the tournament chart. Teams (from):

India: Harmanpreet Kaur (Captain), Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma, Smriti Mandhana, Shikha Pandey, Poonam Yadav, Deepti Sharma, Veda Krishnamurthy, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Radha Yadav, Arundhati Reddy, Harleen Deol, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Richa Ghosh, Pooja Vastrakar.

England: Heather Knight (Captain), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Freya Davies, Sophie Ecclestone, Georgia Elwiss, Sarah Glenn, Amy Jones (wk), Natalie Sciver, Anya Shrubsole, Mady Villiers, Fran Wilson, Lauren Winfield, Danni Wyatt.

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