Mithali Raj will lead India Women    Getty Images
Mithali Raj will lead India Women Getty Images

After a victorious start to their journey of the ICC Women s Cricket World Cup Qualifier, India Women will look to maintain their domination in the tournament and beat Thailand Women in their second match on Wednesday. India are the favourites for the fixture with a sorted line-up and the pressure will be on the Thailand side to stand up to the challenge in order to cause an upset. This will be Thailand’s first match of the tournament while India are coming off a 114-run victory against hosts Sri Lanka, that must have provided them with enough confidence to face a relatively weaker team.

India in their last match put up an all-round performance and did not let Sri Lanka to get on top at any point of the game. India batted well to put up a challenging target of 260 while the bowlers, especially the spinners, backed the effort and guided the team to triumph. India, in the absence of regular opener Smriti Mandhana, opted for Mona Meshram along with Deepti Sharma. India have experimented with Deepti at the top spot earlier and the move was a positive one with the cricketer scoring good runs. Mithali Raj s unbeaten 70 proved that she is at her usual best while Devika Vaidya s brilliant knock of 89 was a happy surprise for the side. It was only the second ODI that the stylish left-hander played in. Apart from these players, there are names like Harmanpreet Kaur and Veda Krishnamurthy in the middle-order to maintain the balance.

With the experienced Jhulan Goswami ruled out of the tournament, India had a bit to worry about as far as bowling is concerned. However, young Soni Yadav did well to fill in the big shoes and looked impressive. She was hit for a flurry of runs towards the end of the innings, earlier there were dropped catches off her bowling and she impressed in the first look. Shikha Pandey will open the bowling with her. However, the biggest strength of India s bowling attack in Sri Lanka will be the spin contingent. With the likes of Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Deepti and Ekta Bisht strengthening that, India look to be in a comfortable position.

To Thailand s credit, they have won the practice match against Papua New Guinea. However, most of their recent victories have come in low-scoring matches. Their batting looks to lack the binding agent that helps a team build up bigger partnerships. Thailand s strength lies in their bowling, which has helped them restrict relatively stronger teams within a gettable total and achieve that later. It will be a crucial toss for Thailand at Colombo. If batting-heavy India elect to bat first, Thailand will have to walk a long way in order to win the match. It will be interesting to see how they prepare themselves, especially with the bat, to face one of the strongest teams in the competition.

Squads:

India Women: Mithali Raj (c), Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Mansi Joshi, Thirush Kamini, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Mona Meshram, Shikha Pandey, Poonam Yadav, Deepti Sharma, Devika Vaidya, Sushma Verma (wk), Soni Yadav.

Thailand Women: Sornnarin Tippoch (c), Nattaya Boochatham, Naruemol Chaiwai (wk), Nattakan Chantam, Rosenan Kanoh, Nannapat Koncharoenkai (wk), Suleeporn Laomi, Soraya Lateh, Ratanaporn Padunglerd, Sirintra Saengsakaorat, Sainammin Saenya, Rattana Sangsoma, Shagufta Arwe, Chanida Sutthiruang.

Time: 10:00 am local | 10:00 am IST | 4:30 am GMT