About the Match
After that defeat in the Champions Trophy final, Indian fans will be looking up to the Women's team to post some bright performances in the Women's World Cup. India starts off their campaign on 24th March 2017 against the hosts England. England hasn't played an ODI match in the last six except a couple of warm-up matches. India, on the other hand, is nothing short of match practice and has, in fact, won their last four bilateral series which included a 16-match winning streak. Indian players will be brimming with confidence and they'd certainly want to replicate their form against strong English side to get India off to a flyer.
England received a major setback as their hard-hitting opener Lauren Winfield was ruled out of the first match as she sustained a wrist injury during the practice match against New Zealand. Winfield has been instrumental in reviving England's fortunes after a dismal T20 World Cup.
The likes of Tammy Beaumont and Fran Wilson will lead the charge with the bat. Considering the conditions, English quick bowlers in Anya Shrubsole, Katherine Brunt, and Beth Langston will have a vital role to play in this opening fixture. Although Alex Hartley, the left-arm spinner has played only nine ODIs so far, she has been one of the star performers for England. In spite of the injuries, England has a nice balance and excellent blend of youth and experience.
Overall, England is a strong side but is currently plagued with a couple of injuries. Being the host nation, the pressure will be on them to performance. Winfield's injury is a huge blow, but despite her absence, England remains to be a team to beat in the tournament.
India has been fantastic coming into the tournament as they've won most of their matches in the build-up to the tournament. Mithali Raj, Indian skipper, stands on the verge of overtaking Charollete Edwards as the leading run scorer in this format. In her last fifteen innings, Raj has scored a whopping 833 runs at an average of over a hundred. Her performance will be key to India's performance in the tournament opener.
Other than Mithali Raj, Punam Raut and Deepti Sharma have played well as far as the supporting role is concerned. Veda Krishnamurthy and Harmanpreet Kaur haven't been amongst the runs but will draw confidence from their performance on English soil.
India is going in with only three genuine quick bowlers which can be a concern if one or more of those have an off-day. All time leading wicket-taker will be key for them and the team will be hoping for a performance similar to Zaheer Khan's in 2011 World Cup. Spinners have been instrumental in India's recent success and lot would depend on them once again.
Overall, India is a decent team with a lot dependent on their spinners, Jhulan Goswami and skipper Mithali Raj. If Raj and co. get going in the opening encounter, we might well see England beaten on their home turf.
England hasn't played an ODI in last months, but that takes nothing away from them. Injury to Lauren Winfield can be a deciding factor. Indians, on the other hand, have been amongst the games and wins. England still stays as the stronger of the two sides on paper and home conditions will add to their advantage. Given the performances of the teams in Warm up matches, England go in as favorites to win the upcoming encounter