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Women's Cricket World Cup

India Preview: Mithali Raj's side hope to go one better

ICC WCWC 2022

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After narrowly losing out in the final against England five years ago, India are in New Zealand with a large part of their core unchanged. Can they go one better?

India's gradual, yet assured rise as an ODI side was reflected in 2017 when they made it to the finals of the World Cup, only to lose to England by just nine runs. Five years later, the Mithali Raj-led unit remain confident of going the distance with their squad shaping up well for the mega event.

India have named a strong squad for the World Cup with a lot of hope resting on the batting unit which has Mithali Raj, Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur and Shafali Verma amidst other names.

The pace attack led by Jhulan Goswami is as impressive as the group of spinners that include Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Sneh Rana and Deepti Sharma.

Since 2019, India have won 13 and lost 15 ODIs, and in their last three ODI bilateral series in 2021 and 2022, the team faced losses against England, Australia and New Zealand.

THE SQUAD

Mithali Raj (c), Harmanpreet Kaur (vc), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh (wk), Sneh Rana, Jhulan Goswami, Pooja Vastrakar, Meghna Singh, Renuka Singh Thakur, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav

FIXTURES

  • 6 March – v Pakistan
  • 10 March – v New Zealand
  • 12 March – v West Indies
  • 16 March – v England
  • 19 March – v Australia
  • 22 March – v Bangladesh
  • 28 March – v South Africa
Video cwc19 19 Apr 18
#WWC17 Final: England v India match highlights

TOURNAMENT HISTORY

Best finish: Runners Up (2005, 2017)

While India were super impressive in the 2005 edition where they beat New Zealand to make it to the finals against Australia, their most impressive showing in the tournament is the one in the last Women's World Cup in 2017.

After losing to only South Africa and Australia in the early stages of the tournament, India made it to the semi-finals where they faced arguably the best team in the tournament, Australia, for a second time. Harmanpreet Kaur's brilliant 115-ball 171 not out helped India post 281, a total they defended easily bowling Australia out for 245.

They put up a stiff challenge against England in the final, nearly chasing down 229, but eventually fell nine runs short.

LOOK OUT FOR

Video cwc19 24 Jan 22
The Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy for the ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year: Smriti Mandhana

Smriti Mandhana

Since 2019, Smriti Mandhana only has one score in the single digits in ODIs. She has scored 859 runs in this duration with a hundred and seven fifties and strikes at a brisk pace. With Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur dropping anchor in the middle overs, the starts Shafali Verma and Mandhana provide would be crucial to India's chances. Even though India's batting unit hasn't quite scored runs at a decent rate, Smriti has been an exception, standing tall at the top of the order and taking the attack to the opposition.


KEY PLAYER

Jhulan Goswami

The veteran fast bowler is 39 years but remains the key bowler for India for the tournament. This will be her fifth ODI World Cup, an event where she has always been at her best. In 28 World Cup matches, Jhulan has 36 wickets at an average of 20.02 and an economy rate of 3.25. She is also India's leading wicket-taker in ODIs since 2019 with 38 wickets in 24 matches, including two four-wicket hauls. She produced a brilliant bowling display of 3/37 in Mackay in the final ODI of the series against Australia to help India win a game.


BIG MATCH

Australia – 19 March

Video cwc19 20 Jul 17
HIGHLIGHTS: #WWC17 AUS v IND - Match Highlights

India's biggest opponent in this World Cup will undoubtedly be Australia. Having lost to the Australian team in the finals of the Women's T20 World Cup in early 2020 and in the recent ODI series Down Under (1-2), India will hope to test the Aussies this tournament. Easily their toughest group fixture, India will be up against a team they have beaten only once in the last six meetings in ODIs.

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