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The ICC Women’s T20 World Cup is about to begin and while there are no easy matches, there are some matches that could be more important than the others. The first match to get things underway is India vs New Zealand. Both teams are going to want to start well and win this game because it could also very well determine who gets past the group stages.
Group B, which is where both India and New Zealand are placed, also has Australia, Pakistan, and Ireland. The most likely scenario is one where two out of India, New Zealand, and Australia will qualify.
India has not been a force to be reckoned with in the shortest format of the game until recently when it started blooding in some very talented youngsters. New Zealand has been one of the strongest sides in T20 cricket but it comes into this match with just two wins out of its last five matches.
Which side will begin with a win?
It is not an overstatement to say that the New Zealand women are regarded as the favorites to win by many pundits in cricketing circles. The side has been consistently one of the best sides in this format and dominated the 2016 WT20 as well before collapsing against the West Indies in the semi-finals.
New Zealand, along with Australia is a side that seems to be better prepared and physically stronger than most of the other teams in this tournament.
Leading the charge for New Zealand are going to be its two star batsmen, Suzie Bates, and Sophie Devine. They bat at the top of the order and ensure that the two best batters of the side get the chance to play the most amount of deliveries.
If these two get going then New Zealand is going to win more most of its matches with ease.
Suzie Bates is more measured in her approach while Sophie Devine can be absolutely destructive. We expect to see India hit these two batters with some spin early on in the inning to try and change things up.
It is not just about these two batters, though. Skipper Amy Sattherwaite, Katey Martin, and a whole host of all-rounders provide a lot of depth to the batting. New Zealand women definitely outdo Indian women in this tournament when it comes to power in the middle order as well as the sheer number of players that can contribute with the bat.
The pitches in the West Indies are expected to be sluggish and helpful for spin bowling. This will make the contributions of its spinners, Amanda Kerr and Leigh Kasperek very crucial as well. Kerr has that bit of X-factor about her and is a proven wicket-taker but can travel for some runs on a bad day as well.
The New Zealand women have had trouble defending totals in the recent past when they traveled to Australia and that is something they will be well aware of. Bates, Sattherwaite, Kerr, Kasperek, and the others form a good bowling attack.
New Zealand needs to adapt quickly because once it does, it is going to be a hard team to stop.
Suzie Bates, Anna Peterson, Sophie Devine, Amy Satterthwaite, Katey Martin, Maddy Green, Leigh Kasperek, Jess Watkin, Hayley Jensen, Amelia Kerr, Lea Tahuhu.
The World T20 has not been a good tournament for Indian women in recent times. They have failed to make the knockout stages of the tournament since 2010. They will be very well aware of the importance this match has to its ambitions of making the knockouts this time around.
Beating New Zealand is not going to be easy but this Indian side is not going to come out wondering. It is lead by Harmanpreet Kaur, one of the most exciting batters in this format of the game, who believes in taking the game to the opposition.
India will also be happy to be playing in conditions that are similar to what it experiences back home. Harmanpreet Kaur is at her best when the spinners are on show and she will have plenty of opportunities to utilize her slower bowlers in this tournament.
Poonam Yadav is the lead spinner of the side and will need to have an excellent game if India is to put New Zealand under pressure. She has struggled to maintain consistency if she is put under pressure in the past and that will be a challenge for her against the aggressive New Zealand batters this time as well.
India has an inexperienced bowling unit as a whole. Arundhati Reddy, Pooja Vatsrakar, and Mansi Joshi have played a combined total of 18 T20 Internationals. The WorldT20 is going to be the biggest tournament they have played in by far.
We have a feeling that the Indian batters will need to bail out its bowling attack on more than one occasion if it is to dream of moving on to the semi-finals.
The heart of the Indian batting will lie with Smriti Mandhana. Mithali Raj, and Harmanpreet Kaur. These three are the best players in the side by some distance.
Mandhana, in particular, is a much-improved player and seems to have worked hard on becoming a better T20 player. She is going to have the opportunity to showcase her improvement against one of the best sides in the world in this game.
While Mandhana and Raj will provide the steel at the top, Harmanpreet Kaur the power in the middle, the roles of other batters like Tania Bhatia and Rodrigues cannot be underestimated.
This Indian side has some obvious flaws and weaknesses but it also has some very dangerous players in its midst. Conditions favoring its slower bowlers help even out the balance a fair bit too.
Smriti Mandhana, Taniya Bhatia, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur, Dayalan Hemalatha, Mithali Raj, Deepti Sharma, Veda Krishnamurthy, Radha Yadav, Arundhati Reddy, Poonam Yadav.
The side winning the toss is likely to field first
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
There is some rain that is the air in Providence but that is almost always the case in the Islands. We think we should be able to have a full game even if there is the odd interruption or so. The pitch in Providence is slow and low. It will make run-scoring difficult against the spinners. Utilizing the new ball well will be crucial for both teams.
The Indian women have won two out of the last five matches that they have played against the New Zealand women. Indian women have been a bit short of quality match practice coming into this encounter and that could be crucial. New Zealand women have lost three out of its last five matches but that has been against tough opposition. Its middle order is a big concern, though, and we believe that could prove to be a factor in this match.
Overall, though, New Zealand is the better side and should be able to win.
Back New Zealand women to win.
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