Having got the better of Pakistan in the lung-opener, India would endeavour to put up an improved bowling show against West Indies in their second Women’s T20 World Cup match in Cape Town on Wednesday.
The Indian batters, without vice-captain Smriti Mandhana, managed to complete their highest successful chase in the T20 World Cup in the win against Pakistan.
Mandhana missed the tie against Pakistan owing to a finger injury but the star opener is likely to be back in the team against the West Indies, who are coming off a big loss against England, as she came through a pre-match training session unscathed.
India bowling coach Troy Cooley is hopeful that Mandhana will be fit to make her first appearance in the tournament.
“She has been working very hard and she will be assessed after training. She did everything that needed to be done and we are pretty confident she got through the session OK,” Cooley said.
The Indian bowlers were guilty of taking their foot off the pedal in the back end of the innings, allowing Pakistan to score 91 runs in the second half of their innings.
They will be keen to give a better account of themselves. With tougher opposition expected as the tournament progresses, the Indian bowlers couldn’t have asked for a better opponent than a familiar West Indies side, whom India beat twice in the recent tri-series.
If India want to win the title, the batting department too has to pull up its socks.
It if wasn’t for young Richa Ghosh’s three boundaries on the trot in the 18th over, India would have been unable to cross the line.
The big-hitting Shafali Verma, fresh from leading India to the inaugural U-19 World Cup title, didn’t look her imperious best against Pakistan. She struggled to get the big shots.
Opening the innings in the absence of Mandhana, Yastika Bhatia struggled for rhythm while skipper Harmanpreet Kaur too perished without making an impact.
India will breathe a sigh of relief that Jemimah Rodrigues, a proven match-winner, hit form after a underwhelming run as she anchored the innings but the middle-order batter will have to manage her strike rate better and go for the big shots.
The addition of Mandhana, a vital cog in this Indian team’s scheme of things, will not doubt bolster the batting.
West Indies, on the other hand, will be eager to register their first win in the tournament having being thrashed by England in their opener.
The Hayley Matthews-led side is enduring a wretched run, having lost 14 matches on the trot.
They will once again turn to skipper Matthews who has oodles of experience. The skipper is no stranger to delivering on the big stage.
However, the skipper needs the others to step up, especially the experienced Stefanie Taylor, who has returned from a back injury.
It will be a crucial fixture for West Indies as a loss would knock the former champions out of the semi-final contention.
India: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia, Richa Ghosh, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harleen Deol, Deepti Sharma, Devika Vaidya, Radha Yadav, Renuka Thakur, Anjali Sarvani, Pooja Vastrakar, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Shikha Pandey.
West Indies: Hayley Matthews (c), Shemaine Campbelle (vc), Aaliyah Alleyne, Shamilia Connell, Afy Fletcher, Shabika Gajnabi, Chinelle Henry, Trishan Holder, Zaida James, Djenaba Joseph, Chedean Nation, Karishma Ramharack, Shakera Selman, Stafanie Taylor, Rashada Williams.
Match starts 6.30 IST.