India out to whitewash series; pride at stake for England

The host needs to win the third ODI to bag two crucial points in the ICC Women’s Championship and move closer to the direct qualification for the 2021 World Cup.

India women cricketers share a lighter moment during a practice session on the eve of the third ODI against England at the Wankhade Stadium.   -  PTI

Indian women will be looking to whitewash England when the teams meet in the the third and final ODI at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday.

The host needs to win the third ODI to bag two crucial points in the ICC Women’s Championship and move closer to the direct qualification for the 2021 World Cup.

Keeping that in mind, the Indian team hopes to stick to its plan. “We must stick to whatever we are doing well. We must continue with that,” pace ace, Jhulan Goswami, said in the pre-match conference.

“Every match is important because every match has points for ICC World Cup. We are looking forward to play some good cricket over there (tomorrow),” Jhulan said.

The side is brimming with confidence after toying with England in the first two fixtures. And under its new coach, W.V. Raman, the team seems to have ticked all the boxes.

Related: Jhulan credits Raman for team's ascendancy

The bowling department — both pacers and spinners — has been impressive. The pace duo of Jhulan and Shikha Pandey along with the Indian spin trio of Deepti Sharma, Poonam Yadav and Ekta Bisht have been spot on.

The batting unit has also been on the money. Smriti Mandhana and captain Mithali Raj are in splendid form. While Mithali scored 44 and 47 in the last two games, Smriti came up with a classy innings of 63 in the last game to help the host pocket the series.

The experienced Punam Raut, who made a comeback to the ODI side, justified her selection over Harleen Deol, by chipping in with a handy 32 in the previous game. But she and young opener, Jemimah Rodrigues, need to covert their starts into bigger scores.

England, on the other hand, suffered a blow after all-rounder Sophie Ecclestone was ruled out of the third ODI and remainder of the tour due to a fractured hand.

The touring side will play for pride and aim to bag the two crucial points as part of the ICC Championship before heading to the three-match T20I series in Guwahati next month.

“It’s an important game. Championship points are on the line. First of all, it’s about clearing your mind. Forget what has gone and try to learn as much as possible and try to move forward. It’s been a tough tour for us so far but still a hell lot to play for and it is still a long way to go,” England captain, Heather Knight, said.

The captain herself has had a forgettable outing so far, and Knight would be hoping for a turnaround when the ball gets rolling at the Wankhede on Thursday.

Teams (from)

India Women: Mithali Raj (captain), Jhulan Goswami, Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Taniya Bhatia (WK), R Kalpana (WK), Mona Meshram, Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Shikha Pandey, Mansi Joshi, Punam Raut, Harleen Deol.

England Women: Heather Knight (captain), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Georgia Elwiss, Alex Hartley, Amy Jones, Laura Marsh, Nat Sciver, Anya Shrubsole, Sarah Taylor (WK), Lauren Winfield and Danni Wyatt.