Harmanpreet Kaur’s return from injury will strengthen India as it faces Australia in a three-match T20I series beginning on Thursday.
Harmanpreet missed the One-Day International leg and the day-night Test against Australia due to a thumb injury. But she is now back in the team to add firepower to a batting line-up that comprises a swashbuckling opener in the young Shafali Verma, who complements the flamboyance of Smriti Mandhana at the top of the order.
Mandhana will be high on confidence heading into the last leg of the Australian tour, having scored a magnificent maiden Test hundred less than a week ago. Attention will be on the in-form Shafali, too.
The upcoming matches will give Harmanpreet the perfect opportunity to regain her touch in the shorter formats before next year’s ODI World Cup. She remains one of the biggest match-winners in the game’s shorter formats and will fancy her chances in the coming days.
Attacking batter Jemimah Rodrigues hasn’t had the best of time with the national team but will take confidence from her impressive showing in ‘The Hundred’. The bouncy Australian pitches will facilitate Jemimah’s free-flowing game, something that her captain would also look to make use of, as she, too, is a natural stroke-maker.
A plethora of all-rounders makes Australia a formidable outfit in the shorter formats but this Indian team has the wherewithal to rattle the host. For inspiration, the Indians can look back to a steep chase against Australia in a T20I before the World Cup last year, and Harmanpreet’s onslaught on its bowlers in the 2017 World Cup semifinal.
As has been the case for a while now in T20s, veteran seamer Jhulan Goswami will not play. India is expected to be well-served by the likes of Meghna Singh, Pooja Vastrakar and Shikha Pandey.
Australia will bank on its all-rounders to give it the edge. Captain Meg Lanning is confident a couple of her multi-skilled young stars can make an impact with the bat. Australia is set to hand a T20I debut to in-form all-rounder Tahlia McGrath, who is coming off an impressive outing in the pink ball game.
On the back of her recent form with the ball, Annabel Sutherland is also making a case for selection, while Nicola Carey’s fine track record will ensure she remains in the scheme of things.
- India : Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana (vc), Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Sneh Rana, Yastika Bhatia, Shikha Pandey, Meghna Singh, Pooja Vastrakar, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Richa Ghosh (wk), Harleen Deol, Arundhati Reddy, Radha Yadav, Renuka Singh.
- Australia : Meg Lanning (c), Darcie Brown, Maitlan Brown, Stella Campbell, Nicola Carey, Hannah Darlington, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Tahlia McGrath, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Georgia Redmayne, Molly Strano, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham.
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