Australia and India set for top spot showdown

ICC Women’s T20 tournament

Alyssa Healy

Three-time champions, Australia and India will both be hunting the top spot of Group B when they go head to head today at the Providence Stadium from 11 am.

Both teams have been equally dominating.   Australia has had 12 consecutive wins while India, in pursuit of their first title in this format are on a six-match winning streak.

Australia has had the better of the Indian side, winning 11 of their 14 contests.

The Aussies have been dependent on their opening pair, Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney while India’s top four batters have all played their part in each of their team’s victories.

Mooney and Healy, who has been awarded the player of the match in all three of Australia’s matches, have scored 245 runs while the rest of the team has contributed 141 runs, representing 64 percent of the team’s runs.

On the other hand, India’s top four has spread the load. In the opening match, the skipper, Harmanpreet Kaur blistered a century while Mithali Raj has scored two fifties and Smirti Mandhana as well as Jemaimah Rodrigues have notched up 93 and 61 runs so far.

Smirti Mandhana

Mandhana has said she is confident that if India’s top four bat out the full 20 overs there is a high possibility that they will score heavily despite being labeled as a team that does not score big runs even in light of their 194 in the opening match. Mandhana and Raj form an effective opening pair and have proven their worth as they have shared in two century stands and five half-century partnerships.

This is compared to the Australian line-up which has a reputation of bullying bowling as seen in their match versus Ireland where they chased down the target in less than 10 overs. With the likes of Ellyse Perry, who is set for her 100th cap in the format and Meg Lanning to come, it will be an uphill battle for India to contain this side or even bowl them out for the first time in the tournament.

However, if there was a team to do so, India would be one of the first picks by most.

The bowling has shared its load as well with Poonam Yadav taking six wickets at an economy rate of under six while support has so far come from Dayalan Hemalatha and Radha Yadav who have both secured five wickets but have been expensive.

Similarly, Megan Schutt has been the stand out with the ball, taking six scalps at an economy rate of five while, Ashleigh Gardner, Perry, Delissa Kimmince, Georgia Wareham and Sophie Molineux have all taken three wickets.

Both evenly matched, India has had the benefit of playing on the wicket first up on all three occasions while Australia has played in the afternoon which could be a factor with the conditions as well as the rains looking to threaten the match.

Mandhana has said that the reputation of the team does not faze them and they pay no mind to other teams since “at the end of the day” she said “we still have to go out and bat and bowl.”

“I think it’s not thinking about the opposition but dominating and (that) keeps us out of pressuring we have to think we are dominating and we are aggressive enough it will not help us on how they play.” Mandhana said.

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