Date & Time: Friday, February 21, 13:30 IST
Venue: Sydney Showground Stadium, Sydney, Australia
World Cup opener can’t get any bigger!
India and Australia, the modern rivals kickstart ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 at Sydney ShowGrounds on Friday. Australia, the defending champions and the host nation, is a force to reckon in women’s cricket. They were crowned as champions 4 out of 6 times in the T20 format. On the other two instances they fell short in semi-final and final. India on the other hand is yet to make it to a final as they fell short in the semi’s thrice and ended the campaign in the group stage in the remaining series.
History is largely in favor of Australia, but India is one of the top 4 teams in the format at the moment. They have been in Australia for a while now and won against Australia once in the recent Tri-Series. The concerns for India are too deep with lack of depth in the batting and the mediocre form of middle-order. On the other hand, Australia seems to be in good stead with a surplus of options at its disposal. If India has to challenge the hosts they need to fire all cylinders.
Tayla Vlaeminck is yet to recover from a leg injury she sustained in the recent Tri-Series. It is unclear whether she will be available for the tournament or not. Apart from that, the Aussies squad looks settled from the Tri-Series.
Australia Women possible XI:
Alyssa Healy (wk, Beth Mooney, Ashleigh Gardner, Meg Lanning (c), Ellyse Perry, Rachael Haynes, Jess Jonassen, Annabel Sutherland, Sophie Molineux, Megan Schutt, Nicola Carey.
India Women possible XI:
Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Veda Krishnamurthy, Deepti Sharma, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Shikha Pandey, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav/Radha Yadav, Arundhati Reddy.
There aren’t many matches played at Sydney ShowGrounds in recent times. In the four matches played in the 2008-19 WBBL, the average score of first innings has been around 128. Pacers have done slightly better than spinners in the period.
She is among the top 3 premier batswomen going around at the moment in the shorter format. In the last 3 months, she has scored at a PPM of 55 in the 6 matches played in the period. Adding to it, her record against the Aussie woman is breathtaking where she has a PPM of 74 and an MDTA of 1.2 in the 6 matches played.
She is just flying under the radar in a side which possesses many superstars. In recent times, she has made sure the poor form of Healy doesn’t affect the team. Her contribution at the top of the order played a crucial role in the series victories in 2020. Her record against India women is an added advantage in the tournament opener. She has a PPM of 54 and an MDTA of 1.2 in the 6 matches played.
She has turned to be the trump card for skipper Kaur in recent times as she has been the ‘go-to’ bowler whenever the team needed a wicket. In the last 5 matches in the format, she has scored at a PPM of 61 and made it to the dream team on every occasion.
How one can go past the world’s premier all-rounder? Her all-round ability gives Australia the flexibility of playing an extra batswomen or bowler. In the last 5 matches, she was not at her best but even then she has scored at a PPM of 79 which tells about the impact she creates in the fantasy team. She has a PPM of 75 and an MDTA of 1.5 in the 6 matches played against India.