Indian women look to avoid whitewash against England

India is 0-2 down going into the final match of the series to be played at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati on Saturday.

Heather Knight attends a practice session in Guwahati on Friday.   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

The Kamakhya Temple, estimated to be more than 1000 years old, is one of the biggest attractions of the city. Among the large number of people who visited the temple on Friday morning to seek the blessings of Goddess Kamakhya were the members of the Indian women’s cricket team.

They could indeed do with some divine intervention in their attempt to avoid a whitewash in the T-20 International series against a ruthless England team. They are 0-2 down going into the final match of the series to be played at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium on Saturday.

With the T20 World Cup in Australia only 11 months away, it is not just for the pride they will play for.

READ: Mithali Raj likely to retire from T20Is after England series

For India’s batting stars, it is another chance to spend some time at the crease. None of them have been able to do that in the first two matches. And it is mainly because of the top-order’s failure that the team has suffered in the series. It is not easy to come back from scores like 46 for five and 69 for four, especially when you are not blessed with too many hard-hitters down the order.

In Smriti Mandhana, Mithali Raj and Jemimah Rodrigues, India boasts of one of the strongest and most attractive batting line-ups in the women’s game, but they haven’t really delivered. Smriti and Mithali have shown glimpses of their capabilities, but haven’t really thrived against the excellent England attack.

India’s bowlers got their act together in the second match after they were taken apart by the visiting batters. Spinners Ekta Bisht and Poonam Yadav and seamer Shikha Pandey have commanded respect from the talented English batting line-up, but they need some runs to bowl at.

England’s bowlers have received far better support from their batters, who have delivered even when the going got tough. In the second game, when the team suffered a collapse, Danielle Wyatt stayed calm and till the end.

Tammy Beaumont and skipper Heather Knight have also been amongst the runs. And if they are not enough, India also has to be wary of someone like Natalie Sciver.

Among the visiting bowlers, seamer Katherine Brunt and left-arm spinner Linsey Smith have been particularly impressive. Medium-pacers Anya Shrubsole and Kate Cross too have contributed to their team’s success in the series.

The women in blue will be keen to avoid a seventh defeat in a row in this format.

The teams (from):
  • India: Smriti Mandhana (capt.), Mithali Raj, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Taniya Bhatia, Bharti Fulmali, Anuja Patil, Shikha Pandey, Komal Zanzad, Arundhati Reddy, Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht, Radha Yadav, Veda Krishnamurty and Harleen Deol.
  • England: Heather Knight (capt.), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Sophia Dunkley Brown, Freya Davies, Georgia Elwiss, Amy Jones, Laura Marsh, Natalie Sciver, Anya Shrubsole, Linsey Smith, Lauren Winfield, Danielle Wyatt and Alex Hartley.
  • The match starts at 11 a.m.

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