Mithali Raj and her team will begin their 2022 Women’s World Cup campaign hoping to end India’s long wait for the elusive trophy when they meet Pakistan in their opening match on Sunday 6th. After coming close to the titles in 2005 and 2017, India hope to go the distance and ensure their legends Mithali and Jhulan Goswami end their careers on a high.
The Indian team reached New Zealand a month early to get used to the conditions. However, the results did not go their way, even as captain Mithali and head coach Ramesh Powar downplayed the defeats, saying they only get better when exposed to New Zealand conditions.
India vs Pakistan Women’s World Cup: How to watch online
The bowling unit let the team down throughout the series against New Zealand, which India lost 4-1. It failed to defend more than 270 goals in two games while conceding a mammoth 191 in 20 overs in a rain-limited game of the ODI series.
They have put in a much-improved performance in the fifth ODI and the two warm-up games and Raj will be hoping both the batting and bowling units can fire in unison.
India will go into the opener of the World Cup after a three-game winning streak, but skipper Mithali said they will not take Pakistan lightly.
India have never lost to Pakistan in an ODI game but Bismah Maroof, a much improved side, will be looking to rewrite history.
“I think Pakistan is a good team too and I’m sure they’ve prepared very hard for the tournament and so have we. Any team here, we can’t take any team lightly. So we’ll go into each game with a lot of effort.” full of intensity and with a lot of confidence,” said Mithali Raj.
“We will play every game with intensity and confidence.”
— BCCI Women (@BCCIWomen) March 5, 2022
HAMRNAPREET’S FORM A BIG BOOST
The team could have breathed a sigh of relief after Kaur, a vital cog in the team and seen as a big match player, found herself after a lengthy stretch between races.
The pressure will be on Shafali Verma, who frankly looked like he was off to a solid start alongside Smriti Mandhana, a fine-touch hitter.
Raj, who continues to anchor the Indian innings, has hinted that Deepti, who has been in fine form with bat and ball, will bat at either 3 or 4 at the top, while Kaur is expected to bat at five.
Young Rich Ghosh, who has scored half a century in a row against New Zealand, is expected to start ahead of Taniya Bhatia.
Pakistan, on the other hand, is the lowest-ranked team in the tournament. They qualified for the World Cup based on their placement after qualifying was canceled mid-last year due to COVID-19.
After finishing bottom three times, Pakistan achieved its best-ever finish at a World Cup in 2009 by reaching the Super 6 stage. They’ll be hoping they can get the knockouts in this edition.
Bismah Maroof’s side have also had back-to-back wins in the warm-up games. They beat New Zealand before defeating Bangladesh.
In the bowling department, Pakistan has largely relied on spinner Nashra Sandhu for wickets. They would also need the pacers to join the party.
India vs Pakistan Women’s World Cup Squad
India: Mithali Raj (c), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Harmanpreet Kaur, Yastika Bhatia, Deepti Sharma, Pooja Vastrakar, Rich Ghosh (wk), Taniya Bhatia (wk), Sneh Rana, Meghna Singh, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Jhulan Goswami, Renuka Singh.
Pakistan: Aliya Riaz, Javeria Khan, Muneeba Ali (wk), Nahida Khan, Bismah Maroof (c), Sidra Ameen, Nida Dar, Anam Amin, Omaima Sohail, Sidra Nawaz (wk), Aiman Anwer, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Ghulam Fatima, Nashra Sandhu.