India look to erase bitter memories in semifinal

Harmanpreet Kaur

India will be looking to erase the memories of a heart-breaking World Cup final defeat last year when they take on England in the semifinals of the ICC Women's World T20 on Thursday (Friday morning IST).

England beat India by nine runs in an exciting final of the 50-over global meet, a tournament that ushered in a new era for women's cricket in India.

To their credit, the 'Women in Blue' have been able to build on that momentum and a fantastic run in the ongoing World T20 is a testimony to that.

India beat two formidable teams in their group -- New Zealand by 34 runs and Australia by 48 runs -- maintaining an all-win record in the league stage.

However, England, the reigning ODI world champions, are a quality side in the shortest format and the scars of the summit clash loss at Lord's can play on the minds of Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur, the two pillars of the women's side.

Skipper Harmanpreet's performance will be key to India's success as she is known to rise to the occasion. The Moga-born cricketer can be safely termed as someone who is a big-match player.

In the current World T20, she has performed in two group league matches -- a match-winning century against New Zealand and a quick-fire 43 against Australia -- which proved to be decisive in the context of the game.

She is currently leading the tournament run-chart with 167 runs from four games at a strike rate of 177 plus. Smriti Mandhana, with 144 runs, is fourth on the list.

Against England, India will have their senior-most player Mithali Raj back in the side after being rested for the final group game against Australia as she was nursing a niggle suffered while fielding against Ireland. She will come back in place of spinner Anuja Patil.

Under new coach Ramesh Powar, India's strategy of playing a single pacer has worked wonderfully as their spinners have done well throughout the group league stages.

Leg-spinner Poonam Yadav (8 wickets) and left-arm spinner Radha Yadav (7 wickets) have been consistent throughout the tournament. Off-spinners Deepti Sharma (4 wickets) and Dayalan Hemlatha (5 wickets) have also kept things tight.

However, India played all their group league matches at the same venue --Providence in Guyana -- and will now play a day/night game at a different venue.

For England, the focus will be more on their seam attack, comprising Anya Shrubsole (7 wickets) and Natalie Sciver (4 wickets). They have been very economical and have kept Bangladesh and South Africa under 100 runs.

PTI

 

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India look to erase bitter memories in semifinal

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