Women's WT20: Mithali Raj's Indians must get big runs in do-or-die clash against England
Dharamsala: Unlucky to have lost the previous tie against Pakistan by just two runs via D/L method, the Indian women's cricket team will be fighting a survival battle when it takes on a strong England side at the ICC World Twenty20 here today.
India skipper Mithali Raj addresses the media in Dharamsala yesterday. Pic/PTI
A defeat today would virtually throw the home team out of the competition and the Mithali Raj-led side would hope to put their best foot forward against the English eves.
Unlike the previous edition, where India women were ousted in the group stages, they are a strong contender this time around, courtesy their recent good showing in the T20 format, including a historic 2-1 away series win over mighty Australia in January followed by the 3-0 whitewash of Sri Lanka in the run up to the ongoing World T20.
Pakistan loss unfortunate
In their last match also, India could have won the tie had rains not played spoilsport. Although the hosts had posted a meagre 96 for seven and had also started badly in their defence, they had pulled things back and had reduced Pakistan to 77 for six in 16 overs when the heavens opened up.
At that stage, Pakistan needed 20 off 24 balls to win, but the downpour brought proceedings to a grinding halt and the match could never start within the cut-off time and the D/L par score was 75 at that point of time that enabled Pakistan to remain two runs ahead.
India did not bat too well against Pakistan but the likes of Mithali Raj, Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy are capable of getting the better of any side if they fire in unison.
Bowlers in form
The bowling department spearheaded by veteran Jhulan Goswami is also expected to come good with Shikha Pandey, Poonam Yadav and Anuja Patil also in form.
India would certainly take confidence from their recent performances when they take the field at this picturesque stadium for the first time ever in an international match.
Stating that the wicket seemed to be on the slower side, skipper Mithali said: "There is no grass on the wicket, so it seems to be on the slower side. We also saw such behaviour during Australia-new Zealand men's tie too. There is a bit turn in the wicket."
England, meanwhile, also started their campaign on a high with a comfortable win over Bangladesh women. In fact, the World T20 champions of the past, are on a roll having thrashed New Zealand twice and South Africa once in the warm-up matches.