CWG 2022: India looking for better batting and bowling show in crucial game against Pakistan

Birmingham, July 30 (IANS): After squandering a chance to win their Group A opener against Australia, India will look for better batting and bowling performance in a crucial game against Pakistan at Edgbaston on Sunday.

Billed as a game to attract a large audience due to the large number of people of Indian and Pakistani origin residing in the city, expect the stadium to be full when Harmanpreet Kaur and Bismah Maroof lead their respective teams onto the pitch in a game where the future of their campaign in the tournament heavily hangs in the balance.

A victory for either of them means the chance for a medal will be alive while a defeat would put either team on the brink of an early exit from the competition.

On a sunny Friday, as women’s T20 cricket made its Commonwealth Games debut in India, Captain Harmanpreet led the way with the bat, batting 52 from 34 and was backed by the 48 from 33 of the opener Shafali Verma with 154 on board.

India had a real chance to win when peacemaker Renuka Thakur took 4-18, knocking out Australia’s top four batting formations of Alyssa Healy, Beth Mooney, Meg Lanning and Tahlia McGrath. At 49-5, India had a real chance of victory.

But apart from Renuka and Deepti Sharma, Indian bowling made line and length errors as Ashleigh Gardner, Grace Harris and Alana King took Australia to a win from behind.

If India is to stay alive in the competition, they will need better efforts from bowlers like Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Radha Yadav and Meghna Singh to prevent the Pakistani batters from getting huge runs.

They could consider bringing experienced all-rounder Sneh Rana back into the XI to strengthen in batting and bowling with all-rounder Pooja Vastrakar who has yet to arrive in Birmingham due to a Covid-19 infection.

Likewise, in the batting department, they would like Smriti Mandhana to convert his start into a big score and hope Yastika Bhatia as well as Jemimah Rodrigues keep the pace on the scoreboard.

Just like India, Pakistan also had to suffer defeat in their opening match, beating Barbados by 15 points. Versatile veteran Nida Dar holds the key for Pakistan, seen on her 50-for-31 unbeaten run when other hitters failed to trail in the slot. Bismah and the other hitters will have to hit the road to put some runs on board.

Pacers Diana Baig and Fatima Sana have the ability to control batters with their precise line and length. They would like their spinners like Nida, Anam Amin and young leg spinner Tuba Hassan to get wickets and stem the flow of running.

Although Australia v Barbados is later in the day. But the eyes of fans in India and Pakistan will be on the match between the cross-border neighbours, which promises to write another exciting chapter in the journey of women’s T20 cricket at the Commonwealth Games.

Teams

India: Harmanpreet Kaur (Captain), Smriti Mandhana (Vice-Captain), Shafali Verma, S. Meghana, Taniyaa Sapna Bhatia (Wicket Keeper), Yastika Bhatia (Wicket Keeper), Deepti Sharma, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Pooja Vastrakar, Meghna Singh, Renuka Thakur, Jemimah Rodrigues, Radha Yadav, Harleen Deol and Sneh Rana.

Pakistan: Bismah Maroof (captain), Aimen Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Ayesha Naseem, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Gul Feroza, Iram Javed, Kainat Imtiaz, Muneeba Ali Siddiqui, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Sadia Iqbal and Tuba Hassan

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