Women's T20 WC: India Begin Chase For Elusive Title With Opener Against Arch-Rivals Pakistan
India's run for an elusive Women's T20 World Cup title will begin again when they open their campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan at the Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town on Sunday.
Cape Town: India's run for an elusive Women's T20 World Cup title will begin again when they open their campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan at the Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town on Sunday. With a historic victory in the ICC Under-19 Women's T20 World Cup coming in South Africa last month, Harmanpreet Kaur & Co have got the motivation to go one step further from their runners-up finish in the 2020 T20 World Cup and get their hands on the trophy. They will also be aided by U19 Women's T20 World Cup-winning captain Shafali Verma and wicketkeeper-batter Richa Ghosh joining the side for the marquee event, bringing a lot of knowledge about the conditions in South Africa. Over the years, India versus Pakistan clashes bring about a sense of anticipation and excitement among viewers as well as provided some of the most historical and thrilling moments in the game of cricket. But in the last few days, the availability of Smriti and Harmanpreet have emerged as areas of concern. Harmanpreet had picked a left-shoulder injury during the loss in the tri-series final to South Africa while Smriti had apparently picked an injury to her left middle finger in the warm-up match against Australia. If India are to go all the way to the trophy, they will need Shafali, Richa and Jemimah Rodrigues to come good consistently plus support mainstays Harmanpreet and Smriti. Deepti has to continue her good form with bat and ball, which has been stellar of late. With the ball, the roles of Renuka Thakur, Pooja Vastrakar and Shikha Pandey will be key in the fast-bowling department. In terms of spinners, Deepti will need Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Devika Vaidya and part-time spinners, Harmanpreet and Shafali, to come good. On the other hand, Bismah Maroof, captain of the Pakistan team, will be looking to improve on her country's performances in major tournaments and change the fortunes of the team at the T20 World Cup. Bismah and Javeria Khan are featuring in their eighth edition of the Women's T20 World Cup. She will be looking at her compatriots, veteran all-rounder Nida Dar and young lower-order batter Ayesha Naseem, apart from Sidra Amin and Tuba Hassan, to come good in the T20 World Cup. The bowling unit will be spearheaded by fast bowler Fatima Sana, with Tuba, Aimen Anwar, Nashra Sandhu and Sadia Iqbal to provide ample support on slow pitches. The last time these two teams met in a T20I game, it was in the Women's Asia Cup at Sylhet, Bangladesh in October last year, where Pakistan pulled off an upset 13-run victory over India. Come Sunday, and India will be hoping that they get the better of Pakistan to get their T20 World Cup campaign kickstarted on a bright note and inch closer towards the elusive trophy. Apart from Pakistan, they will also face 2009 champions England, and 2016 winners West Indies, and Ireland in the group stage of the competition. India's matches in the Women's T20 World Cup will be broadcasted on Star Sports and Hotstar in the country, with coverage to be brought in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada. Squads: India: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia, Richa Ghosh, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harleen Deol, Deepti Sharma, Devika Vaidya, Radha Yadav, Renuka Thakur, Anjali Sarvani, Pooja Vastrakar, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Shikha Pandey. Pakistan: Bismah Maroof (c), Aiman Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Ayesha Naseem, Sadaf Shamas, Fatima Sana, Javeria Khan, Muneeba Ali, Nashra Sundhu, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Amin, Sidra Nawaz, Tuba Hassan.