Concern about Mandhana and Selman's fitness, and Windies' strike rotation a worry; Australia to take on Sri Lanka in Bristol
Day 6 – Thursday, June 29
India v Windies, Taunton
Australia v Sri Lanka, Bristol
Match in focus
The teams’ preparation for Thursday’s clashes were hampered by gloomy weather across England on Wednesday, restricting them to indoor sessions.
With rain expected on match day as well, India, the team in form, might be the more worried one in its match-up against Windies.
India and Windies have had contrasting starts to their campaigns. While Mithali Raj’s side continued its excellent ODI form with a comprehensive win over England, Windies was exposed by Australia. It is still waiting for its first victory since landing in England.
The ladies from the Caribbean have struggled to translate their free-flowing approach from the T20 game into the ODI format. The top three, bar Hayley Matthews, have let too many balls go waste, unable to find that balance between being expressive and ensuring the side plays out the full 50 overs. A shake-up of the batting order, with Stafanie Taylor, the side's best batter, coming in at No.3 might be advised.
Windies should also emphasise partnerships – there were too many wickets gifted to the Australian bowlers and fielders, and not enough emphasis on rotating the strike.
India is well aware of many of these deficiencies, having swept Windies 3-0 when it came visiting last November. Raj, however, might have to shift from her focus on spin, given the rainy conditions. Pakistan, for example, was left ruing its selections when England went after its slower bowlers.
India: The one concern is Smriti Mandhana, who hurt her knee while fielding after returning from a lengthy injury break.
Windies: Shakera Selman, the pacer, received a nasty blow on the head while fielding against Australia, and could be rested.
Players in focus
Shikha Pandey: From being an understudy to Jhulan Goswami, Pandey has grown in maturity to take on a leadership role herself. The cloudy conditions could be ideal for her, with the seamers being asked to take on a bigger role. She’s been in good form, picking up two wickets in her side’s opening win.
Deandra Dottin: Dottin is expected to go big every time she steps onto the field. Even against Australia, when her team was struggling, she came on and for a short while imposed herself on the bowlers. Her challenge will be to build on her starts and put a greater price on her wicket. Her bowling too has improved, and she is fully capable of sending down bouncers to intimidate the batters.
What they said
Mithali Raj (India): West Indies, usually in the World Cups, they start slow. But they have some very good players – Stafanie Taylor, the captain, Dottin, Matthews is a talented youngster, they do have a good batting line-up. It’s important for us not to get into it with complacency. Conditions may not be such a factor in our XI, but (in) the way we play and how we plan.
Beth Mooney (Australia):
Our plans are fluent, we’re good at adapting to different conditions that get thrown up. We knew the weather would play a role in the World Cup, we’ll have to wait and see what happens tomorrow, but hopefully the rain stays away. We were lucky enough to have a series against Sri Lanka last year, so we’ve had a pretty good look at their bowlers and their batting line-up as well. This time will be different, because we know a bit more about them.
India: Mithali Raj (capt), Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Smriti Mandhana, Mona Meshram, Nuzhat Parween, Shikha Pandey, Poonam Raut, Deepti Sharma, Sushma Verma, Poonam Yadav.
Windies: Stafanie Taylor (capt), Merissa Aguilleira (wk), Reniece Boyce, Shamilia Connell, Shanel Daley, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Qiana Joseph, Kyshona Knight, Hayley Matthews, Anisa Mohammed, Chedean Nation, Akeira Peters, Shakera Selman, Felicia Walters.