ICC Women's World T20: Harmanpreet Kaur-led India Eye Semi-Final Berth As They Face Deflated Ireland
India ride on the back of two victories against New Zealand and arch-rivals Pakistan going into their third Group B clash.
Harmanpreet Kaur-led India are on a roll after convincingly defeating New Zealand and Pakistan in the first two Group B encounters of the ICC Women's World T20. On Thursday, they face Ireland with a view of the semi-final berth. Ireland have lost both their opening games, the first against Australia by nine wickets, and then a 38-run defeat against Pakistan in the second.
It has been a combined team effort for the women in blue in the opening two matches so far. While skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and the young Jemimah Rodrigues batted out the White Ferns comprehensively in the first match, the second game witnessed a composed knock from veteran Mithali Raj that helped India outshine Pakistan.
Going into Thursday's match, India will be desperately hoping for their opening batter Smriti Mandhana to come up with a big score. After failing in the opener, Mandhana got off to a decent start in the second tie, but eventually failed to capitalise on it.
While Harmanpreet and Mithali are expected to form the backbone of the Indian innings, the team management will be hoping to give enough match time to the likes of the other batswomen in Veda Krishnamurthy, stumper Taniya Bhatia and Dayalan Hemalatha before the tournament enters its business end.
Coming to India's bowling in the opening two games, it has been the spinners -- Hemalatha and Poonam Yadav -- ruling the roost in both the games. The spin duo of Hemalatha and Poonam shared six and four wickets between them in the two matches.
India: Harmanpreet Kaur (capt), Smriti Mandhana, Mithali Raj, Jemimah Rodrigues, Veda Krishnamurthy, Deepti Sharma, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav, Anuja Patil, Ekta Bisht, Dayalan Hemalatha, Mansi Joshi, Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy.
Ireland: Laura Delany (capt), Kim Garth, Cecelia Joyce, Isobel Joyce, Shauna Kavanagh, Amy Kenealy, Gaby Lewis, Lara Maritz, Ciara Metcalfe, Lucy O'Reilly, Celeste Raack, Eimear Richardson, Clare Shillington, Rebecca Stokell, Mary Waldron.
(With IANS inputs)