Will Indian eves make it two out of two in ICC Women's World CUp 2017?    Getty Images
Will Indian eves make it two wins on trot in ICC Women’s World Cup 2017? Getty Images

For a side to play their tournament-opener against hosts-cum-title contenders and emerge victorious, India women could not have asked for a better start to their ICC Women’s World Cup campaign. Smriti Mandhana was beaming in confidence on her comeback trail, Poonam Raut held her end whereas skipper Mithali Raj made headlines on how she remains in focus prior to her innings (by reading a book), but also by notching her seventh consecutive fifty; first such instance in women’s cricket. India ticked all boxes to pile up a challenging score and defend it courtesy disciplined bowling and fielding. Their next clash is against runners-up West Indies, and Mithali’s side will be keen on holding onto the momentum.

Every team wants to earn the coveted title in such a high-voltage tournament. India women would be aware of not getting bogged down after a spirited show in their inaugural match, and remain in the present. On the other hand, West Indies were a shadow of themselves in the game against Australia. Their innings never got off to a flier and collapsed for 204 in 47.5 overs. In defence of 205, their bowlers managed to pick the first Australian wicket after the opening stand had added a 171-run stand inside 31 overs. In other words, they were no match to the daunting Australians and will have to move on from the big loss in quick time.

Test of character:

The beauty of ICC events is that they give time for a team to get into the groove. On the other hand, a few losses in the early stages certainly push teams to the wall as well. Similarly, a team may start well only to falter in the upcoming matches (for example, England’s semi-final exit from ICC Champions Trophy). In the hindsight, one may end second in their first encounter, only to register the second highest score in Women’s World Cup history (as shown by England women versus Pakistan).

We all know Pakistan’s outstanding turnaround and show of character to win their maiden Champions Trophy title from the drubbing received against India in their opener. So, not everything may remain bright for Indian eves if they get complacent. Similarly, often-regarded as T20I-specialists, West Indies will also like to remind the world of their credentials in 50-over format. After all, they missed out on the title in the summit clash of the last World Cup!

Form and confidence are with India, but West Indies will draw some inspiration from the fact that they would be playing on the same ground (Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton) which hosted their clash versus Australia. Also, from India’s perspective, much is being talked about their upcoming match against arch-rivals Pakistan. They would want to remind their supporters to remain in the present, and not think too far ahead.

Likely XI (India): Smriti Mandhana, Poonam Raut, Mithali Raj (c), Harmanpreet Kaur, Deepti Sharma, Mona Meshram, Shikha Pandey, Jhulam Goswami, Ekta Bisht, Sushma Verma, Poonam Yadav

With their experienced campaigner Jhulan Goswami remaining wicket-less, Indian eves managed to topple England courtesy the pair of Shikha Pandey-Deepti Sharma. Surely, they would play the same XI from Saturday’s clash unless an injury creeps in.

Likely XI (West Indies): Hayley Matthews, Felicia Walters, Chedean Nation, Stafanie Taylor (c), Deandra Dottin, Merissa Aguilleira (wk), Shanel Daley, Anisa Mohammed, Shakera Selman, Akiera Peters, Shamilia Connell

It will be tough for West Indies. They would refrain from making many changes (which gives a wrong signal to the opposition), but may try out a different combination after their heavy defeat.

P.S. Most importantly, if West Indies skipper wins the toss, she would be eager on taking the ‘right decision’ and prevent from what happened in the encounter versus Australia.

(10:30 local | 09:30 GMT | 15.00 IST)