Mithali, Jhulan: 5 Indian Women to Look For in Cricket World Cup
The Quint takes a look at the five Indian players to watch out for in the Women’s Cricket World Cup.
With the Women’s cricket World Cup beginning on Saturday, the Indian ladies’ side will be looking ahead to seize their maiden world title.
The Women in blue are on a phenomenal roll with 16 wins in their last 17 games. And if they sustain their current form in the seven league matches of the tournament, they will reserve the berth for the semi-finals.
Presently placed fourth in the world rankings, the best run of the Indian Women’s Cricket Team came in the World Cup of 2005, when they ended as the runners up.
The team coached by Tushar Arothe has some big guns in its arsenal. Here’s the list of top guns who might fire some big shots in the tournament in England.
1. Mithali Raj
Nicknamed the "Tendulkar of Indian women's cricket", Mithali is the captain and also the most experienced player of the side. The Indian batting line up hugely relies on her batting stint. Currently ranked 2nd in ODI batting rankings, Mithali has led the Indian team for the longest time and will try to give her all in this world cup as this would probably be the last World Cup for the 34-year-old.
Currently running in a good flow, Mithali has scored half centuries in all six of her innings this year. Also, she will try to use the platform to overtake Charlotte Edwards of England as the all time top run-scorer in the ODI history.
Last 5 ODIs - 85 vs Sri Lanka (Practice match for WC), 21 vs New Zealand (Practice match for WC), 62* vs South Africa, 54 vs South Africa, 51* vs South Africa.
2. Jhulan Goswami
Highest wicket-taker in the women’s ODI history, Jhulan Goswami, is the backbone of the Indian bowling attack. She will be the key in providing early break through to India and build pressure on the opposition with her clever bowling skills.
The 34-year-old veteran likes to bowl in England and the English surface has been prosperous for her in the past. Apart from her bowling, she also has the capability to bat down the order. Along with Mithali, this would probably be Goswami’s last world cup as well, so it is expected to see a desperate performance from the world number 3 ranked ODI bowler.
Last 5 ODIs- 0/16 vs New Zealand (Practice match for WC), 3/22 vs South Africa, 1/21 vs Zimbabwe, 1/55 vs South Africa, 3/20 vs South Africa
3. Harmanpreet Kaur
Hard-hitter Harmanpreet is the vice-captain of India and the strength of the Indian middle order. The dynamic player is known for her explosive batting in the limited overs format of the game. She can also adapt a calm and composed batting style when the team needs an anchor to the innings.
Kaur holds the record of highest individual score by an Indian Woman in a World Cup match (107 in WC 2013). Kaur was the first Indian player to be roped into the Women’s Big Bash League. She is currently struggling with the bat, but being in form of Harmanpreet Kaur is important for India’s effective run in the tournament.
Last 5 ODIs- 3 vs Sri Lanka (Practice match for WC), 2 vs New Zealand (Practice match for WC), 39* vs Zimbabwe, 20 vs South Africa, 38* vs Zimbabwe.
4. Deepti Sharma
The 19-year-old emerged as a sensation when she partnered with Poonam Raut to put up a stand of 320 runs against Ireland last month. It was the highest partnership in ODI cricket history across genders. Deepti scored 188 in the innings, which is the second highest individual score and highest by an Indian in Women’s ODI.
Her knock consisted of 27 fours, which is the highest ever in an international women's cricket match. If failed with the bat, Deepti can also provide with the bowl. Deepti has shown what wonders she can do, and all eyes will be on her in the upcoming WC.
Last 5 ODIs- 2 & 1/45 vs Sri Lanka, (Practice match for WC), 9 & 0/24 vs New Zealand (Practice match for WC), 1/28 & 8 vs South Africa, 4/17 vs Zimbabwe, 0/34, 71 vs South Africa.
5. Smriti Mandhana
The left-handed opener will be making her comeback in the WC after a long injury from the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia. Her century against Australia early last year drew everyone's attention. The 20-year-old youngster is the vice-captain of the Indian T20 team.
But the real acclaim came when she was picked by ICC in its first ever ODI team of the year for 2016, perhaps the only Indian. It will be interesting to see if she can deliver a good performance right from her first comeback match.
Last 5 ODIs- 44 vs Sri Lanka (Practice match for WC), 1 vs New Zealand (Practice match for WC), 5 vs West Indies, 44 vs West Indies, 7 vs West Indies.
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