India vs England, 1st T20I, LIVE - Follow updates as they happen below.
India: Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Dayalan Hemalatha, Richa Ghosh (wk), Kiran Navgire, Pooja Vastrakar, Sneh Rana, Deepti Sharma, Radha Yadav, Renuka Singh
Debut for Kiran Navgire. Now’s a good time to read this piece on her batting and efforts to catch the attention of the national team:
England: Danni Wyatt, Sophia Dunkley, Alice Capsey, Amy Jones (c & wk), Bryony Smith, Maia Bouchier, Sophie Ecclestone, Freya Kemp, Sarah Glenn, Freya Davies, Lauren Bell.
England has won the toss and will bowl first. No Kate Cross or Issy Wong. That’s a strange choice. Lauren Bell wil make her T20I debut though and will hope to trouble Indian batters early on.
What are India’s problem areas?
- India has been plagued by a wobbly middle order. The infusion of D Hemalatha and Kiran Navgire who both come with plenty of runs to their names in the domestic circuit has been a move to fix this problem. The duo looked confident in the warm-up game but it was still not enough as they couldn’t get going for long, with India squandering a good start.
- Positive: Meghana among the runs. With Jemimah injured, this gives Meghana a chance to underline that she’s in good form and keep herself in the mix of things for the World Cup next year
- India’s inability to close out games. India often loses the plot from winning positions, as seen most recently in the Commonwealth Games final. Harmanpreet Kaur says the team is working on all these chinks in the armour. Today will mark a fresh start for this side and it will be interesting to see how India uses the clean slate.
There will be a 30-minute delay to proceedings at Chester-le-Street. The toss will now be at 11:30PM IST and the match will begin at 12am. No overs lost as of now. This is of course subject to rain interference.
The focus will be on India’s finishing abilities as it looks to make a fresh start after the Commonwealth Games high in the three-match women’s T20I series against England, beginning in Chester-le-Street on Friday.
It was only last month, not very far from Chester-le-Street at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground where the Harmanpreet Kaur-led side defeated England in the semifinal, en route to a silver medal in women’s cricket’s maiden appearance at the Commonwealth Games.
While it was a historic feat, the narrow nine-run loss to world champion Australia in the final exposed India’s finishing woes.
Chasing a par 162, India looked in control with Harmanpreet (65) and Jemimah Rodrigues’s (33) forging, what looked like a match-winning partnership. It needed just 44 runs from the last five overs, but went on to lose eight wickets for 34 runs to miss out on a historic gold.
Sice then, India’s second wicketkeeper Yastika Bhatia has been axed with some bold inclusions being made in uncapped Kiran Prabhu Navgire and Dayalan Hemalatha, the two power-hitters.
Maharashtra batter Navgire, who plays for Nagaland, hogged the limelight with a record 162 not out against Arunachal Pradesh in the Senior T20 Trophy earlier this year to be roped in by Velocity in the T20 Challenge.
Navgire showed her power-hitting abilities, smashing the fastest fifty in the T20 Challenge in May and it remains to be seen if she is picked ahead of senior teammate Hemalatha who makes a comeback after two years and is named both in T20 and ODI squads.
The three ODIs, which will be Jhulan Goswami’s swan-song series, will follow the three T20Is.
“In the Commonwealth Games, we did well but still there is scope for improvement,” Harmanpreet had said.
India may look to go in with six batters and have the team core ready ahead of the T20I World Cup in February next year.
“I feel no matter whatever format you are playing, you need to have six batters in the side,” she said.
“Having two-three pure bowlers and two-three all-rounders can give you a great balance to the side. We have a couple of new players to fill those areas we lacked in, like in the slog overs, when you need 10 runs or more per over.
“Before the World Cup if they can get equal chances, then you have a fair idea to select the team. We will definitely try some new things and at the same time give equal opportunities so we can make a good team,” the skipper added.
For England this will be a chance to redeem itself after returning empty-handed from the CWG.
England lost to New Zealand in the bronze play-off. But it will definitely be a challenging task for the host, which will be without its regular skipper Heather Knight who is recovering from a hip surgery.
In Knight’s absence her partner, Nat Sciver was appointed skipper but she too has pulled out citing “mental fatigue”. Katherine Brunt, by the way, was “rested” for the series.
Wicketkeeper-batter Amy Jones will lead the side in Sciver and Knight’s absence and it would be up to the English youngsters to make a mark.
“We’re really motivated... It’s a really exciting series that will present lots of challenges along the way. As a group, we’re quite excited to get into it and have to adapt and overcome those challenges,” talented 18-year-old all-rounder Alice Capsey said.
Having made her Test and ODI debut earlier this year, seamer Lauren Bell is also set to make her maiden T20I appearance and join the young seam bowling duo of Freya Kemp and Issy Wong, who will have the big task to stop the Indian power-hitters.