India will look to draw confidence from recent performances and improve their disappointing bilateral record against England when the two teams face-off in a three-match women's T20I series, starting here on Wednesday.
The Harmanpreet Kaur-led India have had a successful year in the shortest format so far, winning the gold medal in the Asian Games, an away series against Bangladesh by 2-1 and also making it to the final of the triangular series in South Africa, with West Indies as the third side.
On the other hand, world No. 2 England will look to overcome the disappointment of losing to Sri Lanka 1-2 at home.
World No. 4 India have a poor record at home in T20Is as well as against England in general and the hosts will hope to come up with something special.
At home, in nine matches against England, India have only two wins to show with their most recent victory coming more than five years ago in March 2018 when they won by eight wickets at the Brabourne Stadium.
In fact, it is India’s overall record against England which is also concerning given they only have seven wins to show from 27 matches.
Additionally, India women’s last win at home in T20Is came more than two years ago in March 2021 when they defeated South Africa in Lucknow by nine wickets. Since then, India have lost four and tied one game while playing at home.
The series also presents India an opportunity to improve their disappointing overall home record as they only have 19 wins from 50 T20Is at home with 30 losses and one tied game.
Both India and England were the semifinalists of the last T20 World Cup held in South Africa earlier this year.
With the next showpiece event slated for September-October 2024, this series presents an opportunity to fine-tune their preparations for the edition in Bangladesh.
While Deepti Sharma has been India’s most successful bowler with 19 wickets in 16 matches with a strike rate of 15.89, it is the batters who have done a commendable job this year in the shortest format, led by Harmanpreet, who has averaged 35.88 to make 323 runs in 13 T20Is with three fifties.
Jemimah Rodrigues has struck 342 runs in 16 matches at 34.20 with one fifty, while India’s vice-captain Smriti Mandhana has topped the charts with 369 runs in 15 matches with three fifties while averaging 28.08.
Mandhana also finished as the sixth-highest run-getter in 'The Hundred' Women’s competition with 238 runs in nine matches, playing a vital role in Southern Braves’ title win.
Harmanpreet is also coming off a decent run with the bat in the recently-concluded Women’s Big Bash League where she garnered 321 runs in 14 matches.
India have three new faces for this series with right-arm Karnataka spinner Shreyanka Patil, Punjab’s left-arm spinner Mannat Kashyap and Bengal’s Saika Ishaque — another left-arm spinner — being roped in.
While Kashyap was a member of the inaugural title-winning Indian side in the ICC U-19 Women’s T20 World Cup earlier this year, Ishaque finished at joint-third best with 15 wickets in the inaugural Women’s Premier League for Mumbai Indians.
Patil made waves with her promising display in the WPL with Royal Challengers Bangalore and was the first Indian to play in the Women’s Caribbean Premier League, finishing as the highest wicket-taker with nine scalps in five games.
For England, the veteran Nat Sciver-Brunt’s all-round exploits in the WPL and her form in international circuit make her the most dangerous player.
Besides scoring 332 runs at a strike rate of 140.08 and 10 wickets in WPL in Mumbai’s winning campaign, Sciver-Brunt has also amassed 271 runs in only eight T20Is at an average of 45.16.
While Danny Wyatt has most runs (278 in 11 matches), Sophie Ecclestone (16 wickets) and Sarah Glenn (13) have been England’s best bowlers in T20Is this year.
The series between the senior women’s sides was preceded by a three-match contest between their respective ‘A’ teams, wherein Issy Wong’s all-round brilliance handed the visitors a 2-1 win.
On spin-friendly and slow surfaces, batters from both the teams struggled largely which indicates this could be a series dominated by spinners and both India and England have plenty in their ranks.
Squads: India: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana (vc), Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma, Deepti Sharma, Yastika Bhatia (wk), Richa Ghosh (wk), Amanjot Kaur, Shreyanka Patil, Mannat Kashyap, Saika Ishaque, Renuka Singh Thakur, Titas Sadhu, Pooja Vastrakar, Kanika Ahuja, Minnu Mani.
England: Lauren Bell, Maia Bouchier, Alice Capsey, Charlie Dean, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Mahika Gaur, Danielle Gibson, Sarah Glenn, Bess Heath (wk), Amy Jones (wk), Freya Kemp, Heather Knight (c), Nat Sciver-Brunt, Danielle Wyatt.
Time: 7:00pm IST.
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