Harmanpreet Kaur will lead India as captain in the ICC Women’s World T20I. (Source: BCCI)
India will open their ICC Women’s World Cup T20I campaign against New Zealand on Friday at Guyana in the West Indies. The Indian eves, who will be led by skipper Harmapnreet Singh, will be dependent on their solid batting line-up comprising of the captain herself, along with Mithali Raj and Smriti Mandhana, to give them a solid start in the tournament.
Kaur has been in brilliant form, which she displayed in the warm-up match against England on Wednesday. The right-handed batswoman hammered 62 runs in 32 balls, with 6 fours and 3 sixes in her innings to take India to a competitive total. The fans will hope Kaur, who will be in charge of her first World T20 tournament, can continue her form to take India to a win.
India will also look to bank on their spinning bowlers, who appear to be thriving under the newly-appointed head coach Ramesh Powar. Against England, right-arm spinner Poonam Yadav took three wickets, while Radha Yadav and Deepti Sharma took two wickets each to restrict England at 133 for 8 in 20 overs. Powar expressed his happiness on the bowling performance after the warm-up game: “Where we were three-four months back and where we are now, we are happy what we are doing. It takes time, I hope they understand this. We try and dominate every situation, that is what we are looking for,” he was quoted as saying by ICC website.
England coach Mark Robinson added: “Their spinners outbowled us. They bowled into the wicket and protected the short boundary. We bowled all the length and got hit, gave the batter a chance to hit over somebody’s head, which you can’t do in these conditions.”
A win against the Kiwis in the opening match, who reached the semifinal stage in the previous edition of the Women’s T20 World Cup in 2016, will boost the confidence of the young Indian side. New Zealand still have a few members from the same team – including Suzie Bates, Sophie Devine and Leigh Kasperek. Though this time, they will be under the leadership of Amy Satterthwaite, with Bates giving up her captaincy duties two months before the start of the tournament.
For India, it will be Bates who will pose the biggest threat, with the right-hand batswoman displaying glorious form in recent times. She scored multiple centuries for Hampshire in the domestic season and was also the Player-of-the-match in the IPL exhibition match. Kaur will hope India can restrict Bates to a low-total if they want to push for a win.
India Squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Taniya Bhatia (wk), Ekta Bisht, Dayalan Hemalatha, Mansi Joshi, Veda Krishnamurthy, Smriti Mandhana, Anuja Patil, Mithali Raj, Arundathi Reddy, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Pooja Vastrakar, Radha Yadav, Poonam Yadav
New Zealand Squad: Amy Satterthwaite (c), Suzie Bates, Bernadine Bezuidenhout (wk), Sophie Devine, Kate Ebrahim, Maddy Green, Holly Huddleston, Hayley Jensen, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Katey Martin, Anna Peterson, Harriet Rowe, Lea Tahuhu, Jess Watkin