Women's T20 World Cup, IND vs ENG: India Face England In Semis With Eyes Set On Maiden Final Appearance
Women's T20 World Cup: India finished on top of Group A, winning all four group games, while England finished behind South Africa in Group B.
The Indian women's cricket team will face England in the semi-final of the ICC Women's T20 World Cup in Sydney on Thursday. India, led by Harmanpreet Kaur, were the only team to win all their group matches, finishing on top of Group A. After bossing the group games, India will be hoping to make it to the summit clash for the first time in tournament's history. England, on the other hand, finished behind South Africa in Group B but will derive confidence from the fact that they have never lost to India in T20 World Cup history. The last time these two sides met in this competition was in the semi-final of 2018 T20 World Cup, which resulted in India exiting the tournament after an eight-wicket loss.
However, all that would not matter if the match is called off and there are high chances of that happening as the weather predictor shows a 70 percent chance of rain in Sydney on Thursday.
That would not be that big a concern for India as it is for England as in case of a washout the former will advance to the summit clash by the virtue of topping their group.
India began their campaign making a strong statement as they beat defending champions Australia in the tournament opener and followed it up with wins against Bangladesh, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.
England, the last edition's runners-up, suffered a shock six -wicket loss against South Africa in their opening game but bounced back well to beat the West Indies, Pakistan and debutants Thailand.
India's 16-year-old opener Shafali Verma, playing in her first major tournament, has impressed everyone with her explosive batting. With 161 runs scored at an average of 40.25 and a strike rate of 161, Shafali is currently third in tournament's leading run-scorers' list. She has smashed nine sixes -- most by any batter so far in the tournament.
Despite Shafali firing all guns blazing up the order, India are yet to breach the 150-run mark in the tournament which puts a big question mark on other batters in the line-up like Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur's form.
Despite posting modest totals, India have successfully defended the target thanks to superb bowling efforts.
India's leg-spinner Poonam Yadav currently tops tournament's leading wicket-takers' list with nine scalps from four games. Fast bowler Shikha Pandey has also chipped in with crucial wickets inside powerplay as well as the death. She has claimed seven wickets in four matches. Radha Yadav and Rajeshwari Gayakwad have bowled brilliantly and have taken five wickets apiece.
Unlike India, England's strength lies in their batting and two of their batters Natalie Sciver (202 runs) and Heather Knight (193 runs) occupy the top two spots in the leading run-scorers' list.
England also have representation in the leading wicket-takers' list with Sophie Eccleston and Anya Shrubsole occupying the second and third positions respectively, with eight wickets apiece.
India would be happy with their bowlers' performance and would like them to repeat the same in the semi-final but would expect more from their batters who are yet to click as a unit in the tournament.
India Women Squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (capt), Taniya Bhatia (wk), Shafali Verma, Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Veda Krishnamurthy, Shikha Pandey, Radha Yadav, Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Pooja Vastrakar, Harleen Deol, Arundhati Reddy, Richa Ghosh
England Women Squad: Heather Knight (capt), Amy Ellen Jones (wk), Danielle Wyatt, Tammy Beaumont, Natalie Sciver, Fran Wilson, Katherine Brunt, Anya Shrubsole, Mady Villiers, Sophie Ecclestone, Sarah Glenn, Georgia Elwiss, Lauren Winfield, Kate Cross, Freya Davies
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Match starts at 9:30 AM IST