Women’s World Cup: Dominant India favourite against West Indies

In the head-to-head record, India has a 5-0 advantage over West Indies in World Cup contests stretching two decades-1993 to 2013.

India skipper Mithali Raj is in sublime form and has scored seven consecutive half-centuries in ODIs.   -  PTI

Fresh after a 35-run victory over strong title contender England in its opening encounter of the ongoing Women’s Cricket World Cup, India looks ominous ahead of its second group match against the brilliant yet erratic West Indies on County Ground, Taunton, on Thursday.

West Indies will be on the prowl waiting for its first win after a humiliating eight-wicket drubbing at the hands of Australia.

In the head-to-head record though, India has a 5-0 advantage over its opponent in World Cup contests stretching two decades-1993 to 2013.

West Indies has set a brilliant record in scoring runs and is consistently improving its rankings in ODIs, but is prone to sudden batting collapses.

Having finished as runner-up in the last World Cup where India was seventh, West Indies will have its task cut out, as it seeks its first World Cup victory.

Leading the attack is Diandra Dottin, the hardest hitter of the leather ball in the women’s game. Skipper Stafanie Taylor-arguably the best all-rounder in the game-former skipper Merissa Aguilleira, who is swift behind the wickets and Hayley Matthews’ experience could create problems for the Indians.

The Indian bowlers will have to refrain from bowling anything in the arch and short deliveries which are likely to be dispatched towards, or over the boundary ropes with disdain.

The Carribbeans are mercurial and place their strength in chasing. However, statistical favourite India needs to pile pressure while fielding and win this encounter to maintain its top four position in the round robin format of the first round.

India skipper Mithali Raj is in sublime form and has scored seven consecutive half-centuries. She has been unbeaten in six of those innings.

Openers Smriti Mandhana and Poonam Raut are expected to give India an explosive start.

The concern for India is running between the wickets and wicket-keeping by an inconsistent Sushma Verma, who missed two chances that oscillated the game towards England in the last match.

Historically, Indian wins are dependent on caught-behinds and stumpings in which Anju Jain holds a record of 31 dismissals that includes 17 stumps and 14 catches.

Top order batting and middle overs bowling along with conversion of half-chances into run-outs, are India’s strength and the side will rely on these two departments for its victory.

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