Georgetown (Guyana): Having convincingly won their first two matches, a dominant India will look to stamp their authority and inch closer to a semi-final berth when they face a lowly Ireland in a Group B match of the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 here on Thursday.
India are on a roll in the ongoing World T20, having beaten an in-form New Zealand by 34 runs in their tournament opener before extending their dominance over arch-rivals Pakistan with a 7-wicket win in their second match.
It has been a combined team effort for the women-in-blue in the opening two matches so far. While skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and the young Jemimah Rodrigues batted out the White Ferns comprehensively in the first match, the second game witnessed a composed knock from veteran Mithali Raj that helped India outshine Pakistan.
Going in to Thursday’s match, India will be desperately hoping for their opening batswoman Smriti Mandhana to come up with a big score. After failing in the opener, Mandhana got to a decent start in the second tie, but eventually failed to capitalise on it.
While Harmanpreet and Mithali are expected to form the backbone of the Indian innings, the team management will be hoping to give enough match time to the likes of the other batswomen in Veda Krishnamurthy, stumper Taniya Bhatia and Dayalan Hemalatha before the tournament enters its business end.
Coming to India’s bowling in the opening two games, it has been the spinners — Hemalatha and Poonam Yadav — ruling the roost in both the games. The spin duo of Hemalatha and Poonam shared six and four wickets between them in the two matches.
Ireland, on the other hand, have lost both their opening two matches. In the first match, they went down to Australia by nine wickets followed by a 38-run defeat against Pakistan in the second.
The batting department failed in both the matches as the batters could only manage to score 93 runs in the first match and 101 in the second match.
The bowlers also disappointed as they could only pick up seven wickets in the two matches. But the good news is that pacer Lucy O Reilly came back to form in the last match, taking three wickets.
India: Harmanpreet Kaur (Captain), Smriti Mandhana, Mithali Raj, Jemimah Rodrigues, Veda Krishnamurthy, Deepti Sharma, Taniya Bhatia (WK), Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav, Anuja Patil, Ekta Bisht, Dayalan Hemalatha, Mansi Joshi, Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy.
Ireland: Laura Delany (Captain), Kim Garth, Cecelia Joyce, Isobel Joyce, Shauna Kavanagh, Amy Kenealy, Gaby Lewis, Lara Maritz, Ciara Metcalfe, Lucy OReilly, Celeste Raack, Eimear Richardson, Clare Shillington, Rebecca Stokell, Mary Waldron