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Women's cricket has gained a lot of traction in recent times and consequently, this World T20 which is being played in West Indies is the first instance of it not being played alongside the men's event. The opening game of the tournament will be played between India and New Zealand with Pakistan - Australia clash following it on the same day. The two teams faced each other a couple of weeks ago where Australia completely dominated the Asian side. Pakistan have a history to performing a notch better in the ICC events and they'll be looking to surprise Australia on the opening day of ICC World T20.
The Australian team led by Meg Lanning have three titles to their name and will be ruing the lost opportunity they had last time in 2016 where they finished second. They're coming off a splendid run in the same format and will love to keep the momentum going.
Skipper Meg Lanning is undoubtedly their biggest star and will play a vital role at the top of the order. More than their batting, it's their bowling which has played a huge role in their resurgence in T20 cricket. Megan Schutt's rise in limited-overs cricket is a story which every women cricket dreams of. She tops the ICC Women's T20 bowling charts and is placed second in ODI.
Although Jess Jonassen is declared fit and will be available for the first T20I against Pakistan, disregarding Sophie Molineux's performance will be difficult for the team management. The 20-year old left-arm spinner has picked 11 wickets in the nine games she's played with all of those coming in her last seven games. Alongside her bowling, she's a handy lower-order batsman which adds depth to Australian batting order.
Beth Mooney, Alyssa Healy, Ashleigh Gardner, Meg Lanning, Elyse Villani, Rachael Haynes, Ellyse Perry, Sophie Molineux, Delissa Kimmince, Georgia Wareham, Megan Schutt.
Pakistan have an overall dismal record of just five wins in twenty World T20 games, but they've shown massive improvement in recent times. They were impressive in the previous edition of World T20 where they managed to get past India and Bangladesh.
Similar to their men's team, Pakistan Women depend heavily on their bowling attack which is rich in spin talent. They have two of their spinners ranked in the top-ten in the ICC T20I bowlers rankings with Anam Amin occupying fourth and Dar occupying the eighth spot respectively. Considering the slow and low surfaces of West Indies, their spin department will have a huge role to play and might well single-handedly take them home.
Their batting seriously lacks power-hitters and although a couple of players played promising knocks in their recently concluded series against Australia, they'd need more from their experienced players. However, given the bowling attack they have, they'll fancy defending even a subpar total in the conditions conducive to spin bowling.
Nahida Khan, Ayesha Zafar, Omaima Sohail, Bismah Maroof, Javeria Khan, Nida Dar, Aliya Riaz, Sana Mir, Nashra Sandhu, Sidra Nawaz, Anam Amin.
With surface likely to slow down over the course of the game, chasing here won't be easy. We expect the team winning the toss to bat first.
The hot conditions of the Caribbean Islands will test the fitness of the players and run-scoring on slow surfaces won't be easy. Spinners are likely to play a huge role on slow turning wickets and anything above 140-150 will be difficult to chase down. The powerplay overs will be the best time for the batsmen to bat.
Pakistan have had an on-off kind of season with wins and losses spread evenly throughout the year until their recent 3-0 loss to Australia. The gulf between the two sides was clear and Pakistan will have to improve massively in order to challenge Australians who have been on a dream spree and currently rank numero uno in ICC Women's World T20I rankings. Australian Women are a better-balanced side with a good amalgamation of youth and experience. Considering the form and team on paper, the Australians are firm favorites to win the upcoming match and start the tournament on a high note.