The semifinalists are already decided but there won't be any let-up in intensity when India plays Pakistan and England plays Australia
With Australia and England already through to the semi-finals from group A, the other two teams - India and Pakistan - have only pride to play for on the last day of the group matches of the ICC Women's World Twenty20 2012 in Galle on Monday (October 1).
Both India and Pakistan have lost matches to England and Australia convincingly, but their match-up is still significant. An India-Pakistan encounter across any age-group or format has always generated interest, and Monday will be no different.
"It is still an international fixture, which we want to go out and win," said Mithali Raj, the Indian captain. "We have a lot to prove. We haven't played to the level which was expected of us, so we want to at least finish on a high."
Sana Mir, her counterpart also echoed similar views. While she admitted that the team was dejected after losing a rain-curtailed game against Australia, she said the prospect of playing India will get Pakistan up and running.
"We want to go out there and show what we are capable of. We have nothing to lose, so we may as well go out there and enjoy ourselves," said Mir.
India will go in to the match as the overwhelming favourite. Like the Indian men’s team, which has a formidable record in ICC events against its arch-rivals, the women’s team has also won both previous matches against Pakistan in the ICC Women’s World Twenty20.
India’s struggles with the bat have been well documented, and Poonam Raut has been the only player to get past fifty in the tournament. To keep its record against Pakistan intact, India will hope that its two best batters – Harmanpreet Kaur and Raj – rise to the occasion.
The bowling has also been lacklustre, but Raj believes it is only a question of confidence, which is currently lacking partly because the batters haven’t put enough runs on the board for the bowlers to defend. Pakistan will rely on its spinners to stifle the Indian batting. Mir, who has been Pakistan’s best bowler on view, will need to be backed up by the others. While batting, Qanita Jalil and Nain Abidi will be crucial to Pakistan’s chances, and the top-order will have to get some more runs than it has.
England and Australia will play the second game of the day. This match will also be inconsequential from the point of view of qualifying for the semi-finals, but with another match pitting traditional rivals against each other, there won’t be a let-up in intensity.
There is also the fact that the winner of this match will top the group, and therefore play the team that finishes second in Group B in the semi-finals. Neither team will also want to lose momentum after comprehensive wins in the first two matches for each one.
Australia has been well-served by its openers, Meg Lanning and Alyssa Healy, in both outings so far. The middle-order hasn't really had too much work to do, given the form of Jess Cameron at No. 3, who has played two solid knocks. England is in a similar situation with its top three of Charlotte Edwards, Laura Marsh and Sarah Taylor in fine fettle.
Both sides have ruled out any experimentation and each will be at full strength for the match. The teams have split matches in two previous ICC Women’s World Twenty20 outings, but England holds the edge on current form despite Australia’s status as the defending champion.
In terms of intensity, aggression, quality and entertainment, this could well be the contest the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 2012 has been waiting for.