The Telegraph
Monday , March 24 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Mithali to open against Lanka

Sylhet: Indian women would look to begin their World T20 campaign on a positive note, when they take on Sri Lanka in a Group B league match here on Monday.

Their performance has been a mixed one in the warm-up games. They lost to New Zealand by 17 runs, before beating Ireland by 26 runs.

Interestingly, India had lost to Sri Lanka 1-2 in the T20 International series at home earlier this year and the Mithali Raj-led team would look to avenge that defeat.

India have made an important change to their batting line-up for the tournament. Their best batsman and captain Mithali will open the innings instead of coming in at her usual No. 3 position. She has been in fine touch in the warm-up games, making 42 in the win over Ireland and 53 against New Zealand.

The strategy will require Poonam Raut to move down to steer the middle-order in the company of vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur. Veteran seamer Jhulan Goswami, who has also shown superb form in the warm-ups, will lead the attack.

Along with Jhulan’s experience, India have got a battery of spinners in Sravanthi Naidu, Poonam Yadav, Gouher Sultana and Archana Das, giving Mithali a welcome conundrum of what combination to pick in helpful conditions.

Mithali, Poonam and Harmanpreet provide plenty of class through the line-up, with Jhulan available to slog a few down the order. But India’s drawback is the fact that they have not played against major teams recently.

India lost in the semi-finals in both the 2009 and 2010 editions, against New Zealand and Australia, respectively.