The ICC Women’s T20 World Cup is set to begin from February 21 onwards. Australia Women are the defending champions and will start their proceedings against the Indian women’s cricket team in Sydney.
Notably, a total of 10 teams namely Australia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, England, West Indies, South Africa, Thailand, Sri Lanka and New Zealand will battle for the ultimate prize on March 8. It is also the International Women’s Day which adds further gloss.
Harmanpreet Kaur-led Team India is placed along with four-time champions Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in Group A for the coveted tournament.
On the other hand, Group B sees the likes of England, South Africa, the West Indies, Pakistan and Thailand brace for a mega show.
The tournament one will see the use of technology to monitor front-foot no-balls for all matches. The ICC had earlier announced the same.
Meanwhile, the third umpire will call the front-foot no-balls, communicating this with the on-field umpires.
Here’s a look at India’s fixtures and squad
February 21: India vs Australia (1: 30 PM IST) at Sydney Showground Stadium.
February 24: India vs Bangladesh (4: 30 PM IST) at W.A.C.A. Ground, Perth.
February 27: India vs New Zealand (8:30 AM IST) at Junction Oval, Melbourne.
February 29: India vs Sri Lanka (1:30 PM IST) at Junction Oval.
The semi-finals and final will be played on March 5 and 8 respectively. Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) will host the semi-finals, whereas, the MCG will play host to the finale.
All matches will be telecast live on the Star Sports Network and streamed on Hotstar.
India’s 15-member squad for the Women’s T20 World Cup: Harmanpreet Kaur (captain), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodriguez, Harleen Deol, Deepti Sharma, Veda Krishnamurthy, Richa Ghosh, Taniya Bhatia, Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gaikwad, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy.
How did India Women fare in previous ICC World T20s?
So far, six editions of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup have been held. Besides four-time champions Australia, England and West Indies have won the tournament once. The Indian women’s cricket team has been to the last-four on three occasions. They had earlier reached the semis in 2009, 2010 and 2018 respectively.
In the other three editions, Team India was knocked out in the first round itself. So far, the side has played 26 matches across six editions. India have won 13 and lost the remaining 13. They have a 50% win percentage.
Records held by Indian players in the T20 World Cup history
Veteran batsman Mithali Raj has scored the most runs for India in the ICC Women’s World T20 (726). Notably, she is the fourth-highest run-scorer in the history of the tournament after the likes of Suzie Bates, Sarah Taylor and C Edwards.
Right-handed batswoman Raj had scored 208 runs in the 2014 edition of the event. That remains India’s record for highest runs by a player in a single edition of the World T20. Raj’s score is also the fifth-highest tally across editions.
Poonam Yadav has accounted for the most wickets. She has claimed 18 scalps at an average of 14.88 and an economy-rate of 5.46. Former Indian bowler Diana David has accounted for the most wickets for the side in an edition (9). She was the joint-highest wicket-taker alongside Nicola Browne in the 2010 edition.
India’s skipper Kaur has taken 12 catches in the ICC Women’s World T20 history. She is the fourth-highest in terms of catches taken by an outfielder. Kaur is also one of the three players to score a hundred in the World T20. Her 103 against New Zealand Women in 2018 is the third-highest individual score in the tournament’s history.
India have registered the highest team total in the tournament’s history. Their 194/5 against New Zealand Women in the 2018 edition remains the top score.
Smriti Mandhana leads the batting charge for India Women
India’s star player Smriti Mandhana will need to shoulder responsibility of the side in terms of scoring. She has been in fine form of late and was the highest run-scorer in the recently-concluded T20I tri-series involving England and Australia.
Mandhana has amassed 1,667 runs in 71 matches at an average of 26.04. She has 12 fifties under her belt. Besides her, Harmanpreet is highly experienced and is an ideal choice at number four. She has amassed 2,156 runs in 109 matches at 28.36. Kaur has one ton and six half-centuries.
The likes of Jemimah Rodrigues and 15-year-old Shafali Verma has the potential to excel. Both teenagers will be wanting to show their potential in the top order. With 845 runs in 39 matches, Rodrigues can be someone, who can support Mandhana and Kaur.
Meanwhile, all-rounder Deepti Sharma needs to stand up and take control if the going gets tough. India have a weak middle order, and one needs her to provide the base. Wicket-keeper batswoman Taniya Verma isn’t prolific. The likes of Harleen Deol and Richa Ghosh are options on the bench. However, they are highly inexperienced.
India Women have a sound bowling attack
The Indian women’s cricket team boasts of a quality bowling unit. For the side, Deepti will be the trump card. 22-year-old Deepti will adds the desired dynamism with her off-breaks. With 49 wickets in 43 games, the player could be influential.
Poonam Yadav is the leading spin option. She has 85 scalps from 62 matches. She is the seventh-highest wicket-taker in T20Is and offers pedigree.
Medium-pacer Shikha Pandey is another experienced campaigner in this side. Fellow pacer Arundhati Reddy has a crucial role up her sleeves.
Slow left-arm spinners Radha Yadav and Rajeshwari Gaikwad lend support. The spinners are the main face and it remains to be seen whether how much help they can extract on Australian pitches.