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Womens World T20

India, New Zealand look to start off on a positive note

WT20 Match 1, Ind v NZ, preview

India and New Zealand, two of the heavyweights in Group B, will lock horns in the tournament opener in Guyana.

Overview

India v New Zealand
WT20 Match 1
Providence Stadium, Guyana  

Harmanpreet Kaur and her team have had a strong string of performances in the build-up to the tournament, winning both their warm-up games against the Windies, the hosts and defending champions, and England, the 50-over world champions. New Zealand, on the other hand, claimed a strong six-wicket victory against Sri Lanka but were then defeated by the hosts in their second warm-up game.

India boast of strong names like Kaur, Mithali Raj and Smriti Mandhana in their batting line-up. Their bowling looks well-settled with the likes of Deepti Sharma, Radha Yadav and Poonam Yadav, all of whom churned out impressive returns in the warm-up games. The Indians also have a strong leader in Kaur, who is a swashbuckling batter in the shortest format of the game. 

New Zealand, on the other hand, have a consistent and explosive opening combination in Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine. They have reliable middle-order batters in skipper Amy Satterthwaite and Katey Martin, and a strong bowling line-up spearheaded by the likes of Lea Tahuhu and Leigh Kasperek.

The White Ferns are the No.2 on the MRF Tyres ICC Women's T20I Team Rankings and undoubtedly one of the favourites to claim the trophy this season. India are up there too, making the first match of the marquee event a potentially thrilling contest.

Key players

Suzie Bates (New Zealand): Bates, No.1 in the MRF Tyres ICC Women's T20I Rankings for batting, is the pivot around which the New Zealand batting revolves. The 31-year-old has scored the most number of T20I runs in 2018 – 509 at an average of 56.55. During this time, she also recorded the second-highest individual score in women's T20I cricket – an unbeaten 124 against South Africa in June.

Harmanpreet Kaur (India): The 29-year-old has been on a roll in T20I cricket this year, accumulating 480 runs in 17 innings with an average of 40. She scored a 32-ball 62* in India's 11-run victory over England in their second warm-up game, showing off her form and intent. She will be well attuned to the conditions in Guyana by now and will want to bring her A-game to the fore against New Zealand. 

Conditions

The forecast is of partly cloudy skies in Guyana at the time of the toss, with the temperature in the region of 31°C through the game. Most of the wickets in the last two warm-up matches at this venue were claimed by spinners, meaning that the batters have to be watchful, and scores in the region of 140-150 might be par.

Squads

New Zealand: Amy Satterthwaite (c), Suzie Bates, Bernadine Bezuidenhout, Sophie Devine, KE Ebrahim, Maddy Green, Holly Huddleston, Hayley Jensen, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Katey Martin (wk), Lea Tahuhu, Jess Watkin, Anna Peterson, Hannah Rowe

India: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana, Mithali Raj, Jemimah Rodrigues, Veda Krishnamurthy, Deepti Sharma, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav, Anuja Patil, Ekta Bisht, D Hemalatha, Mansi Joshi, Pooja Vastrakar, Arundhati Reddy

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