Women’s T20 WC: Key Battles to Decide India vs England Semi-Final
The overall strength lies in batting but, if India have to go past England, the first 6 overs will be crucial role.
The Indian team, who have been undefeated so far in the ongoing Women's T20 World Cup, will face a daunting task against England when they take on 2009 champions in the first semi-final at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday.
With a win over favourites Australia by 17 runs, Bangladesh by 18 runs, New Zealand by just 3 runs and wrapping up the group stage with a 7-wicket victory against Sri Lanka, India will enter the semifinals with sky-high confidence.
Batting for India has been outstanding with Shafali Verma's bettering scores and posture in each game. With 161 runs in four matches and a batting average of 40.25, the 16-year-old is on the third position in the list of leading run-getters in the competition followed by England's Natalie Sciver and Heather Knight.
The overall strength lies in batting but, if India have to go past England, the first 6 overs will play a crucial role as it will set the tone for the bugle of the finale.
Poonam Yadav has been shaping up with enough deceptiveness and consistent googlies. With a haul of nine wickets, Poonam is currently poised as the most valuable player of the tournament with most wickets in the group stage.
For England, Natalie has ravaged opponents by scoring 202 runs in total and a batting average of 67.33 in four group-stage matches. With scores of 59 off 52 against Thailand, 36 off 29 against Pakistan, 57 off 56 against West Indies and 50 off 41 against South Africa, Natalie is in the prime of her form and will pose a great threat to the Indian bowlers.
Shafali Verma vs Anya Shrubsole
16-year-old Shafali Verma has lit the ongoing ICC Women’s T20 World Cup with her fearless batting at the top of the order. Courtesy her recent batting exploits, Shafali has now become the top-ranked batter in the T20 format.
When India face England in the first semi-final on Thursday, the English bowlers will be wary of the danger and will be eager to see the back of Shafali as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, Shafali continues to be India’s highest run-scorer in the competition with 161 and her team will be relying heavily on their opener for another good start in Sydney. The fact that Shafali like attack from the word go, she would susceptible to an early exit – and who better that experienced Anya Shrubsole to do the job for the English side.
Only India’s Poonam Yadav has more wickets than Shrubsole at this edition and she became the first England bowler to 100 T20I wickets when hitting the milestone against Pakistan.
With 41 scalps, Shrubsole also the most wickets in the history of the Women’s T20 World Cup and if any team are aware of her threat, it’s India.
In 2017, when India went down in the final against England in the 50-over World Cup, Shrubsole’s led the charge with a match-winning six for 46.
Harmanpreet Kaur vs Sophie Ecclestone
While Shafali Verma has been single-handedly leading the charge with the bat for India in the competition, it would be immature of England if they ignore the rest of the Indian batting line-up.
India’s middle-order in Australia has been a cause of concern. Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur has reached double figures in just one of the four group wins, and it is no secret that the team would want the captain to strike form in the all-crucial knock-out match more than ever if they want to make it to Sunday’s Final at the MCG.
In the tournament, Harmanpreet has struggled with spin. The captain has fallen prey to spinners Jess Jonassen, Leigh Kasperek and Shashikala Siriwardena during the group stages.
And with England’s young trio of Sophie Ecclestone, Sarah Glenn and Mady Villiers, going might not get any easier for Harmanpreet.
Meanwhile. Ecclestone has already made headlines, topping the T20 bowler’s ranking list. Ecclestone has been among wickets in her last 18 T20I matches and even trusts her instinct to bowl in the Powerplay.
At a young age of 20 years, she already has 50 T20I wickets to her name – eight of those coming in this Women’s T20 World Cup at the cost of just 49 runs.
Poonam Yadav vs Natalie Sciver
The only cricketer who might able to steal Shafali’s thunder in the tournament this time around is England’s Natalie Sciver
With three half-centuries to her name, the 27-year-old all-rounder is already in the form of her life as she tops the batters’ chart with 202 runs at an average of 67.33.
In fact, Sciver scored an unbeaten 53 against India in the semi-final of the previous edition in 2018 in West Indies.
But the way things stand it looks like India have right bowler to dismantle the English cricketer.
If Shafali is turning heads with the bat, experienced campaigner Poonam Yadav is hogging the limelight with the ball.
Finishing the pool stages as the highest wicket-taker with nine wickets, Poonam ripped through the Australia’s batting line in the first match of the tournament.
When the tournament’s highest wicket-taker will come up against the tournament’s highest run-getter on Thursday, fireworks is surely.
It will interesting to see who stops whose juggernaut in the semi-final.
(With inputs from ICC)
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