India starts as the clear favourite against Sri Lanka in the Women’s Asia Cup T20 tournament that begins on Saturday in Sylhet.
India hasn’t had a lot of success in the T20 format of late but comes into the tournament with a magnificent 3-0 series win against England. Moreover, India is the most successful team in the Asia Cup, having won all titles since the event’s inception in 2004 - four titles in the ODI format (before 2012) and two in the T20 format (after 2012).
In the last Asia Cup held in 2018, India lost to Bangladesh in the final. The 2020 edition of the event in Bangladesh was first postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic before being cancelled altogether. After claiming a historic silver medal at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, where women's cricket made its debut in T20 format, India suffered a 1-2 away defeat against England earlier this month before winning the ODI series and bidding Jhulan Goswami farewell.
Among the batters, Harmanpreet has been in imperious form. Smriti Mandhana, too, is in good touch but Shafali Verma, S. Meghana and Dayalan Hemalatha may want to find form again.
Jemimah Rodrigues’ return to the side - she missed the tour of England due to a hand injury - augurs well for India. Wicketkeeper Richa Ghosh, who made a comeback in England after being dropped from the Commonwealth Games, is also in the mix. India’s seam-bowling attack will be led by Renuka Singh, while Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Deepti will be in charge of the spin department.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, will be heavily relying on skipper Chamari Atapattu to deliver the goods with the bat in the absence young Vishmi Gunaratne, who is out due to a back stress fracture. Its middle-order will revolve around Hasini Perera and Harshitha Samarawickrama, while the bowling attack will heavily depend on spinners Inoka Ranaweera and Oshadi Ranasinghe.
The tournament involves seven teams - India, Pakistan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, UAE and host Bangladesh. All sides will play each other in a round-robin format - a total of six matches each - with the top four qualifying for semifinals.