Women’s game is witnessing perhaps its most absorbing triangular series involving India, Australia, and England in the Women’s T20I Tri-Series being played in India. It is both an emphatic contest and a rare sight: for it isn’t always that India gets to host two of the most popular and strong names in the women’s game. Additionally, it is arguably the most enticing contest especially in cricket’s gung-ho format: T20. The teams are in midst of an engaging battle to reign supreme in Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur-land. The stakes are high and the level of competition massive.
We have amidst us some of the biggest names in the game engaged in gruelling format where only one thing reigns supreme: unpredictability. Having gone on to smash Australia in their campaign opener, England is looking dominant. However, Australia and India would want to claw back hard and make the competition even more worthwhile.
Women’s T20I Tri-Series in India, 2018: Players to Watch out for
1. Meg Lanning
A mercurial captain and a dynamic batswoman, Lanning is Australia’s go-to player regardless of format. Back after a seventh-month lay off owing to a shoulder reconstruction surgery, she’s been among runs, even if she hasn’t been scoring in excesses, by her usual high standards. But one of those players who has the talent to change the fortune of a contest by the bludgeoning of her blade, Meg Lanning is often the last woman standing when the Aussies are disconsolate. Not a player who likes to lose, Meg Lanning may just want to make India pay in their next game, making up for the comprehensive loss against England.
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2. Jhulan Goswami
India’s experienced, express pace bowler, someone who’s adept at clocking 110-120 k/hr, a lot depends on Goswami’s ability to make early run-ins into India’s opponents’ order. With her fine ability in sticking to a straightened line, seldom compromising in length- bowling just short of a good length- Goswami’s T20 success speaks of her confidence and discipline. These are key tenets of success for any top rank competitor. A lot depends on how Goswami and Shikha Pandey bowl in tandem in restricting two of the difficult opponents who are renowned for quickly compiling carefree runs.
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3. Heather Knight
A calm and mature head, Knight’s not a player of many words, but certainly one with a lot of runs against her name. Among the most talented and well-rounded cricketer’s of her age, Knight is often the silent guardian of England’s batting hopes. This series, in particular, will be a lot more vital from the perspective of Knight’s bat, considering familiar old guard Sarah Taylor has been rested from the T20s. But having seemed in good touch in the warm-up games, Knight will be expected to launch into her attacking stroke-play in a bid to keep up England’s victorious momentum. Thankfully, the leader has the able services of Tamsin Beaumont up top the order to assist Heather Knight in brisk scoring, an obvious demand of this format.
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4. Smriti Mandhana
Few players bring a stadium alive quite like Smriti Madhana. Her explosive batting could be likened to the fireworks one sees on a new year’s eve and it’s truly a sight to behold. Fortunately, Smriti has been in some form, especially coming off from a productive South Africa tour where the left-hander was among dollops of runs. Powerful yet graceful, fearless yet careful, Smriti Mandhana is arguably the finest batswoman in the side after the likes of Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur, the former apparently struggling for vital runs. This shifts the onus on Mandhana’s young but dependable shoulders particularly because the side cannot make Kaur overwhelmed by the task to score the bulk of the unit’s runs.
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5. Ellyse Perry
Few players in the game are unaffected by their fabulous popularity. But then, not everyone is Ellyse Perry. She’s the quintessential Australian cricketer who gives it everything for Australia’s resurgence or dominance. There’s never a dull moment with Perry around, whether containing opponents with some white-ball magic or unleashing upon bowlers mercilessly by the dynamic whip of her blade. She’s an outstanding athlete and an exemplary cricketer, someone who likes to dominate and be in the thick of things. Although her contribution ever since touching base in India has been through vital cameo’s down the order, with big runs not coming through, Perry would want to up the ante of scoring in a format where she’s accustomed to contributing with flair. This will augur well for her performances in the big daddy for Women’s cricket; the forthcoming World T20 2018.
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6. Natalie Sciver
A handy batswoman and a wicket-taking bowler, this English talent is an incredible top-notch performer in the top echelons of the sport. There are players who can love the grind but few who make it work. Sciver is in a league of her own. An impassioned talent and someone who come in the way of England’s opponents running over the side, Sciver plays with the caution of a surgeon and the acumen of an established athlete. Moreover, she’s already made heads turn with her unbeaten 68 in the opening game against Australia. It is but natural that England will want her form to continue.
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7. Jemimah Rodrigues
Smriti Mandhana and Mithali Raj aren’t the only names that are big crowd-pullers when one speaks of Team India. Of late, their newbie, 17-year-old free-striking batswoman Jemimah Rodrigues has been a great source of joy, particularly for her rising form with the bat. She was impressive in the series against South Africa and someone who goes about collecting her runs matching style with passion. With age on her side, it seems she’s destined for greatness, provided she continues to play her natural game unbent by the nature of a contest.
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