Women’s World Cup: India meets Bangladesh in semi-finals

India has been inconsistent at the Women’s World Cup so far, winning 2 games out of 5 so far but neighbors Pakistan’s shock victory over the West Indies The race for the top 4 started on Monday. When India meet Bangladesh at Hamilton’s Seddon Park on Tuesday, they need nothing short of a win to keep their hopes of reaching the last four alive.

India are currently 4th with 4 points from 5 games, 4 points behind South Africa who are in 2nd place. But under pressure from England (4 points from 5 games) and New Zealand (4 points from 6 games), Mithali Raj’s side can’t afford to slip up.

The wild swings in batting power were already a problem and with the ease Australia chased a record 278 in the previous game, Indian bowlers need to pick up, too.

The bowling looked rather flat against the Aussies, who attacked and pressed from ball one. Attempting to drop an extra bowling option in Deepti Sharma and bring back batter Shafali Verma also didn’t work.

Harmanpreet Kaur, who got back into shape with the racquet, is yet to be used as an off-spinner in the competition.

It remains to be seen if Shafali stays in place for the decider and Yastika Bhatia returns to the top to open alongside Smriti Mandhana.

A positive aspect of the game against Australia was that captain Mithali Raj returned between runs. After a few quiet games, Mandhana is expected to score big on Tuesday as well.

India are in a difficult situation as they have not yet grown together as a unit and will need to rectify that against Bangladesh who have shown promise in their first appearance at the ODI World Cup.

“The atmosphere remains positive. You may feel depressed after a loss, but we have a good chance going into tomorrow’s game. We will play to win, the net run rate remains secondary,” said all-rounder Sneh Rana, adding that they can. We cannot afford to take Bangladesh lightly.

“Bangladesh made it through performance here. They are always improving. There are no easy games at this World Cup,” she added.

Bangladesh have narrowly edged most of their opponents in the four games they have played so far, and that includes a memorable win over Pakistan.

Bangladesh failed to hit 141 against the West Indies in their last game after a brilliant bowling performance and batting is an area where they need to improve significantly.

SQUAD

Bangladesh: Nigar Sultana (c), Salma Khatun, Rumana Ahmed, Fargana Hoque, Jahanara Alam, Shamima Sultana, Fahima Khatun, Ritu Moni, Murshida Khatun, Nahida Akter, Sharmin Akhter, Lata Mondal, Sobhana Mostary, Fariha Trisna, Suraiya Azmin, Sanjida Akter Meghla.

India: Mithali Raj (c), Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh, Sneh Rana, Jhulan Goswami, Pooja Vastrakar, Meghna Singh, Renuka Singh Thakur, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Rajeshwari Gayakwad , Poonam Yadav. (With PTI inputs)

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