Hard-Kaur India vs strong England
North Sound (Antigua):
Harmanpreet Kaur’s India will be keen to erase the memories of a heartbreaking 50-over World Cup final loss to England last year when the two teams meet in the semifinals of the Women’s World Twenty20 here tomorrow night local time (early Friday morning IST). In the other semifinal, West Indies will take on Australia.
England beat India by nine runs at Lord’s last year in the final of the 50-over World Cup, a tournament that ushered a new era for women’s cricket in India. In the World T20 here, the Women in Blue have been able to perform at a level that is a credit to their talent and hard work. India beat two strong teams in the group stage — New Zealand by 34 runs and Australia by 48 runs — to maintain an all-win record.
England are a quality side and Harmanpreet’s performance will be key to India’s success. In this tournament, she performed well in the two big group matches — a match-winning century against New Zealand and a quickfire 43 against Australia.
Under new coach Ramesh Powar, India’s strategy of playing a single pacer has worked wonderfully as their spinners have done well throughout the group league stages. Leg-spinner Poonam Yadav (8 wickets) and left-arm spinner Radha Yadav (7 wickets) have been consistent throughout the tournament. Off-spinners Deepti Sharma (4 wickets) and Dayalan Hemlatha (5 wickets) have also done well.
For England, the focus will be more on their seam attack, comprising Anya Shrubsole (7 wickets) and Natalie Sciver (4 wickets). They did very well to restrict Bangladesh and South Africa to below 100 runs. However, key batters Dani Wyatt (28 runs in 3 games) and skipper Heather Knight (31 in 3 games) haven’t yet been tested, except against West Indies, when they didn’t do well. England managed only 115/8 batting first, going on to lose by four wickets.