The Indian cricket team got their Women’s World T20 2018 campaign off to a great start with a 34-run win over New Zealand in Providence, Guyana. Harmanpreet Kaur, the skipper, led from the front with a historic century and she will be buoyed to sustain the momentum against arch-rivals Pakistan in their next game.
Kaur has acquired a reputation for her big knocks on the big stage. Once in the zone, no bowling attack in the world can stop her from clearing the ropes effortlessly. The Indian skipper was given great support by 18-year-old Jemimah Rodrigues and the middle order made up for the poor start given by the top order.
If there is one area of concern for the Indian batting, it is the openers with Smriti Mandhana and Taniya Bhatia. Mandhana, in particular, has endured a lean patch in Twenty20 Internationals, managing just three fifties in 15 innings. Kaur’s team will receive a major boost if Mandhana can repeat her heroics during the 2017 World Cup.
The bowling is also in good shape, thanks to the exploits of legspinner Poonam Yadav and offspinner Dayalan Hemlatha. The slow and low nature of the Providence wicket was exploited brilliantly by the two bowlers, who ended up with three wickets apiece. These two bowlers will be the key in this campaign if India are to go all the way.
On the other hand, Pakistan has not had an ideal build-up to the World T20 competition. Just before this competition, they had a three-match series against Australia and they were blanked 3-0. The scores by Pakistan in the series were 131,101 and 97. Even in the opening game against the same opponents, they could manage just 113 to lose the encounter by 52 runs.
Pakistan’s batting as well as their bowling has been a major concern. The bowlers, in fact, have bowled out oppositions only twice in the last 12 games while the batting has not seen too many big scores. However, against India, they will have an extra sense of motivation to turn their poor form around. In five games in the World T20, Pakistan have won twice and lost three games. Their last win came in 2016 when they won a rain-curtailed encounter at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi by two runs.
A win for India will put them in a great position to enter the semi-final while Pakistan would be hoping to surprise Kaur’s side and throw the entire group wide open.