The Indian women will face Australia in the first match of the Twenty20 tri-series to be held at Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Thursday. The Harmanpreet Kaur-led team would look to avenge loss they suffered to the same opponents in the recently concluded ODI series in Vadodara where India failed to win a single game in the three-match series. However, the format is different and the Indians would take confidence from their 3-1 win against South Africa in the five-match T20 series held in the Rainbow Nation. England are the third team to figure in the tournament in which all matches will be played at the Cricket Club of India's Brabourne Stadium.
With back-to-back half centuries, Smriti Mandhana was the top run-getter for Indian women during the ODI series against Australia and she would look to continue her good run.
Among others, the batting would depend largely on the experienced duo of Kaur and Mithali Raj and the two players would need to fire big against a strong Australian pace attack.
India women also possess other good batswomen like Veda Krishnamurthy and all-rounder Pooja Vastrakar, who scored a crucial 51 in the first ODI. Young Mumbai girl Jemimah Rodrigues too showed her skills when she scored a racy 42 after being asked to open the innings in third ODI.
With experienced Jhulan Goswami back in the mix, it the seam attack looks more or less settled as Shikha Pandey would look to share the burden after taking five wickets during the ODI series.
Ahead of the tournament, Ekta Bisht injured her left index finger and the BCCI announced Rajeshwari Gayakwad as her replacement in the team. However, the spin department has off-spinner Deepti Sharma and leggie Poonam Yadav who had played a pivotal role in the team's win in South Africa and if the Aussies are to be restricted, they will have to be at their best.
On the other hand, the Aussies will be aiming to continue their form and keep the winning momentum going.
Their skipper Meg Lanning, who failed to convert her starts in the ODI series, would be hungry to get some runs under her belt.
Wicket-keeper Alyssa Healy, who scored a magnificent 133 in the final ODI at Vadodara, is among runs and poses a big threat to the Indian bowlers.
Left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen too have proved to be a difficult customer for the Indians as she picked eight wickets during the ODI series. Other spinners Amanda-Jade Wellington and Ashleigh Gardner too have done well and the hosts will have to careful against them.
India: Harmanpreet Kaur (capt), Smriti Mandhana (vice-capt), Mithali Raj, Veda Krishnamurthy, Jemimah Rodrigues, Anuja Patil, Deepti Sharma, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Rumeli Dhar, Mona Meshram.
Australia: Meg Lanning (capt), Rachael Haynes (vice-capt), Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Naomi Stalenberg, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington.
(With PTI inputs)