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|Nilakshi de Silva||8||12||0||0||66.67|
Before the World Cup began, not many would have thought that India would be leading the Group A at this stage, perhaps not even the most optimist fans. The fact, however, is that they are leading the table and are looking incvincible at the moment. With only one game left to play in this stage, their chance to qualify for the next round is certain, and they'll be looking to sign-off the league stage with a win. They are set to face Sri Lanka in their last Group game and given the way Sri Lanka's matches have gone so far, it's not going to be easy for India. Although Sri Lanka do not have anything to speak of, as far as points on the board are concerned, they pushed New Zealand and Australia both in the respective encounter. It could out to be an exciting contest when India and Sri Lanka face each other off at Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, on 29th February.
While India's win over Australia was being considered a fluke by many, there top of the table position justifies their win. Indian Women did not get over-confident after their win over Australia and continued to build on the momentum with superb wins over Bangladesh and New Zealand. As of now, they are placed at first spot with six points to their name and a net run-rate of 0.633.
Batting first against the Kiwis, India did not get off to the kind of start they were looking for as Smriti Mandhana was dismissed relatively cheaply. Shafali Verma, however, never allowed the game to drift towards the Kiwis as she kept the runs flowing with flurry of boundaries. It was her dimissed that switched on the panic mode in the Indian dressing room as India collapsed from a relatively good position and ended up putting just 133 runs on the board.
133 was a total that was similar to what India defended against the Aussies and their bowlers knew they were in it with a chance. While the shot-selection of the Kiwi batsmen wasn't great, it was India's disciplined bowling that pushed New Zealand on the back-foot. Indian bowlers kept picking up wickets at regular intervals as New Zealand continued to fall behind in the run-chase. However, Poonav Yadav succumbed to pressure in the 19th over, giving away 18 runs, as New Zealand kept their nerves. Shikha Pandey eventually bowled a wonderful 20th over to keep New Zealand achieving the target. Thanks to a complete team performance, India eventually won the match by three runs.
Shafali Verma, Smriti Mandhana, Taniya Bhatia, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur, Deepti Sharma, Veda Krishnamurthy, Shikha Pandey, Radha Yadav, Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad.
Sri Lanka came into the tournament on the back of a superb win over England Women in the warm-ups, announcing that they are not a team to be taken lightly. Their high morale and energy were apparent in the field against the Kiwis, whom the Sri Lankans pushed hard. Sri Lanka posted a similar performance against the Aussies as well, but the Australia unit, playing on its home ground, proved to be too difficult to crack for the Sri Lankans.
Currently, Sri Lanka are placed at the fourth spot on the ladder and would need a miracle to qualify from here. Not only would they have to win both their remaining matches, they would also want New Zealand to lose to Bangladesh and Australia to lose New Zealand, both of which seem to be improbable.
On paper, Sri Lanka appear to be having a good bowling unit, but a fragile batting unit. They appear to be a little too over-reliant on Chamari Atapattu and that was apparent against New Zealand as well. Sri Lanka looked in control in both the matches up until Chamari Atapattu was in the middle, but collapsed once she was dismissed. Their fielding, however, was extremely poor in both the matches and they would have to work hard to not allow Indians any additional chances. It is going to be difficult for them, but beating a good team, in good form, is never easy.
Chamari Atapattu, Umesha Thimashini, Hasini Perera, Hansima Karunaratne, Shashikala Siriwardene, Harshitha Madavi, Anushka Sanjeewani, Nilakshi de Silva, Kavisha Dilhari, Sathya Sandeepani, Udeshika Prabodhani.
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The two teams are placed at first and fourth spot respectively on the points table and the difference between the expectations from the two sides is huge. While India are expected to cruise to a win here, Sri Lanka should go happy even if they are able to stretch India. Considering how the two sides have done in the tournament so far, beating India will be difficult for Sri Lanka. India are a better team on paper as well, and considering that as well as the form they are in, betting on an India's win would be the way to go in this upcoming encounter.
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