By Prarthana Mitra
India will face New Zealand on November 9 in the opening match of ICC Women’s World T20. Defending champions West Indies will face Bangladesh the next day in Guyana, which will serve as the battleground for a total of ten teams for the next two weeks.
Divided into 2 groups, India has been featured in Group B alongside Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan, while the other group contains South Africa, Bangladesh, West Indies, England and Sri Lanka. The semi-finals begin on November 23, leading up to the final two days later at Antigua’s Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
With a strong batting order, the women’s team is expected to launch a strong offensive from the opening match itself. The women in blue have not won a World T20 till date, but this time, with seasoned players like Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Veda Krishnamurthy and Jemimah Rodriguez on the contingent and in form, Team India may be able to turn things around. So far, the women’s team has delivered its best performance in the 2009 and 2010 editions, reaching the semi-finals both times but getting knocked out before making it to the finals.
Skipper and captain Harmanpreet Kaur spoke to the press ahead of the tournament, saying she is aware of the high expectations banking on the Indian team, especially after they ended up finishing the ODI World Cup series as runners-up. With the reassurance that she as well as her side will aim to give their best in the forthcoming tournament, Harmanpreet told the International Cricket Council (ICC), “The ICC Women’s World Twenty20 will be a competitive tournament with some tough league matches early on and no team can take it easy at any stage. Naturally, expectations will be high from our team after our World Cup final appearance last year and we aim to be at our best during the tournament.”
Over a rain-hit warm-up session at Coolidge on Monday, her confidence proved talismanic as India (77 for 5) prevailed over West Indies, defeating the incumbent champions 115-8 by 5 wickets via Duckworth/Lewis method. As preparations continue in full swing, this is the second successive win for Kaur’s team in the warm-up matches. If pacers Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav and Arundhati Reddy maintain their outstanding bowling spells on November 9, India’s women’s team will be able to notch up a crucial victory in the highly-anticipated tournament.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius
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