TOUGH TEST AWAITS INDIA: Standing between IND & place in final is AUS
CAPE TOWN: Yet to deliver its best in the ongoing Women’s T20 World Cup, India will have to improve its game drastically in the first semi-final match against Australia here on Thursday.
While the Harmanpreet Kaur-led India team won three of its four matches in the group stage, it did not bring its A game to the park in the first round. India will have to fix a few issues – inconsistency among top-order batters save Smriti Mandhana, inability of middle-order batters barring Richa Ghosh to accelerate and playing a lot of dot balls – if it harbours hopes of beating the mighty Australia and inching one step closer to glory.
Young opener Shafali Verma must improve her strike rotation and game against the short balls while her senior partner Mandhana will be keen to pick up from where she left off – a match-winning knock of 87 against Ireland in the last group match. Harmanpreet would hope to deliver a captain’s performance, with Jemimah Rodrigues eager to let her bat do the talking.
In the bowling department, pacer Renuka Singh Thakur has been India’s best with seven wickets, including a five-wicket haul against England. Deepti Sharma went for runs in her one over against Ireland, but has been the most consistent among spinners.
India will have to show big-match temperament in a high-stakes clash as it will face its toughest test of the showpiece so far. Having gone down to Australia in the 2020 T20 World Cup final and last year’s Commonwealth Games title decider, India will be determined to turn up on the big occasion on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Australia, a five-time World T20 champion, will look to continue its dominance with another appearance in the final. The Meg Lanning-led Australia is wary of the threat that India possesses, according to opening batter Beth Mooney.
“I am expecting it (the match) to be a huge contest. It (India) has pushed us significantly in the last few years. It has a bunch of match winners in that line-up as well,” Mooney told reporters. “We are not expecting it to be easy by any means, whether it is with the bat or the ball. But, we certainly know the style of play it has played against us and it know ours pretty well too,” added Mooney.
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