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The Indian women have started the WorldT20 in brilliant fashion by beating New Zealand and throwing the group B wide open. If India just manages to avoid losing to any of the lower ranked sides then it should almost certainly find itself in the semi-finals. That is still a fair bit away, though, and there are some very important matches to play on the way.
Their upcoming match against the Pakistani women is going to be one encounter that attracts the most attention of all matches in this campaign. India vs Pakistan, in any format of cricket, is a big deal and this World T20 is no different.
In fact, India’s performance has caught the attention of the nation so plenty of eyeballs will be tuned in to watch the conclusion of this match.
There is no question that India was the underdog going into the match against New Zealand. The fearlessness shown by Harmanpreet Kaur, Rodrigues, and the bowlers ended up blowing the white ferns out of the water and put the entire cricketing world on notice.
India is here to win or lose giving it everything.
The political tensions between India and Pakistan have meant that cricket matches between the two countries are a rarity. The two sides have been reduced to facing each other in multi-team tournaments like the World Cup or the WorldT20. This makes every encounter something to look forward to and a mini-event in itself.
India is the form favorite going into this match. It is a much improved T20 side, has players with better exposure, more experience, and who are physically stronger.
Harmanpreet Kaur gave an example of the power hitting that India possesses and she is not the only one capable of playing such an inning. We would back Smriti Mandhana to be the highest scorer in this match. She was out hooking the ball to the boundary and it took a brilliant catch to get rid of her.
She showed some good touch in the few deliveries that she played, though.
Tania Bhatia opened the batting with Mandhana and started like a rocket ship. She has been the given the mandate to attack from the world go. She is an excellent player and could prove to be the jack in the box for India in this tournament.
A timely fifty from Rodrigues, a small cameo from Hemlatha, and a player like Mithali Raj still in the hut shows the kind of batting depth that India has. Most importantly, the tactics that India used were impossible for New Zealand to predict.
We expect more such surprises in the game against Pakistan as well.
India’s bowling had the cushion of a big total in the last match but there was still a lot to appreciate. The two spinners, Poonam Yadav and Hemalatha were absolutely brilliant. They had the batters attacking them and were able to use their variations to get the wickets.
A sterner test might be when they have to defend a small total but that is something we cannot worry about now. Reddy, Yadav, and Sharma bowled with discipline as well and showed that their lack of experience is not going to hold them back from expressing themselves.
Smriti Mandhana, Mithali Raj, Jemimah Rodrigues, Taniya Bhatia, Harmanpreet Kaur, Deepti Sharma, Veda Krishnamurthy, Dayalan Hemalatha, Radha Yadav, Arundhati Reddy, Poonam Yadav.
Pakistan came into this WorldT20 with little expectations. No one thought they were going to qualify for the semi-finals or beat the bigger sides in their group. The one game that all of Pakistan would want its team to win is this one.
If the Pakistani women can beat India and lose all other games, the country would take it happily. The women even come back to a hero’s welcome.
Such is the nature of the rivalry between the two countries.
Pakistan has a mammoth task in front of it while taking on India. They started their WorldT2 campaign against Australia and were beaten comprehensively. The Pakistani bowling actually did quite well to hold the Aussies down to a par total but the batting was unable to put up a fight.
This is exactly what the biggest challenge for Pakistan is going to be going forward into this tournament. Umaima Sohail and Bismah Maroof were the only two players from the Pakistan side to score runs at a strike rate of 100 or more. They both got a start and reached the twenties before getting out.
They both are the heart of the Pakistani batting and we suspect will have to play out of their skins to get a big enough score to challenge India. If someone like Nahida Khan, Javeria Khan, or Nida dar can contribute with some runs as well then the Pakistani side will be in a much better position.
The problem for Pakistan has been the lack of power hitting from the top-order. It leaves the middle and lower order no time to adjust when their turn comes to bat. All the Pakistani players will have to play with more urgency than they have traditionally shown in this format of the game.
The Pakistani bowling was quite good against the Aussies. Sana Mir, Aliya Riaz, and Nida Dar did a fine job of keeping the runs down while picking wickets. A senior player like Sana Mir could possibly be seen as the person that steps up in this pressure game. As one of the top-ranked bowlers in the world, she certainly has the capability to do so.
Nahida Khan, Ayesha Zafar, Omaima Sohail, Bismah Maroof, Javeria Khan, Nida Dar, Aliya Riaz, Sana Mir, Diana Baig, Sidra Nawaz, Anam Amin.
The side winning the toss is likely to field first
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The weather has been kind in Providence so far even though there has been some rain around. We can hope for more of the same in this match as well. The playing surface in providence is slow and low. Teams which adapt better have been able to score well while others have struggled to get the ball off the square.
We think that a par score would be around 160 on this ground.
India has won four out of the last five matches between the two sides including three victories in the Asia Cup this year. The Indian side has a much stronger batting lineup but the Pakistani girls have some very good bowlers on its side as well.
Taking form, past record, and the experience of the side into account, it is advisable to back the favorites in this match.
Back India to win.