Indian women’s cricket team gears up to face Australia in T20 tri-series opener | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Indian women’s cricket team gears up to face Australia in T20 tri-series opener

Having surrendered the ODI series rather tamely to Australia, it will be an uphill ask for the Harmanpreet Kaur-led Indian women’s cricket team to face the same opponents in the tri-series opener in Mumbai on Thursday.

cricket Updated: Mar 21, 2018 23:58 IST
The Indian women's cricket team defeated South Africa in a T20 series in Cape Town but will be wary of Australia.
The Indian women's cricket team defeated South Africa in a T20 series in Cape Town but will be wary of Australia. (PTI)

Indian women’s cricket team will have its back to the wall when it takes on Australian women in the opening match of the T20 tri-series also featuring England, at the Brabourne Stadium here on Thursday.

Whitewashed by Australia in the preceding three-match ODI series, the Harmanpreet Kaur-led India will have to play out of their skin to beat Meg Lanning and Co., who have not lost a game since arriving in India a fortnight ago.

READ | Mithali Raj calls T20 tri-series ‘perfect opportunity’ for young Indian cricketers

India were outplayed in all departments in the ODI series and need players to raise the level. Fielding and batting in particular are areas where the team needs drastic improvement going into the T20s.

India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur admitted in the pre-match press conference on Wednesday that leaking extra runs and dropping catches cost the team dear in the ODIs and they can’t afford to slip up in the series.

In batting, barring Smriti Mandhana, who was the leading run-getter for the team in the ODIs with an aggregate of 131 runs at an average of 43.66, and local girl Jemimah Rodrigues, who impressed with her quickfire 42 while opening the innings in the third match, none of the other players were consistent.

READ | BCCI aims to build bench strength of Indian women’s cricket team post-Australia loss

For the team to turn its fortunes around, experienced players like Mithali Raj, Veda Krishnamurthy and Harmanpreet will have to perform better in the T20s.

In bowling though, the hosts would be boosted by the return of experienced pacer Jhulan Goswami following injury. She is likely to form a new ball pair with Shikha Pandey. In Deepti Sharma and leggie Poonam Yadav, the home side has quality spinners, but containing the in-form Australian batswomen will be a big challenge.

READ | England women’s cricket team beats India A by 45 runs ahead of T20 tri-series

Australia will look to continue their winning run. Wicket-keeper Alyssa Healy poses the biggest threat for Indian bowlers as she is in terrific form. One Australian player who will be hungry for runs is skipper Meg Lanning, who didn’t score big in the ODIs.

Squads:

India: Harmanpreet Kaur (capt), Smriti Mandhana, Mithali Raj, Veda Krishnamurthy, Jemimah Rodrigues, Anuja Patil, Deepti Sharma, Taniya Bhatia (wicketkeeper), Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht, Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Rumeli Dhar, Mona Meshram.

Australia: Meg Lanning (capt), Rachael Haynes, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Naomi Stalenberg, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington.