Title contenders England will look to maintain their unbeaten run and seal a semifinal berth when they take on Pakistan in their last group league match of the Women’s WT20 cricket tournament on Sunday.
England, the winner of the inaugural edition in 2009 and runners-up to Australia in the last two tournaments, have won all their three league matches so far in Group B to lead the table with six points.
There is still a possibility of a three way tie in the group if Pakistan beat England and the West Indies also emerge victorious against India tomorrow. In that scenario, the net run rate will decide which two sides qualify for the semifinals from the group.
On paper, both the sides appear evenly matched, though Pakistan are a rather depleted side due to the injury to opener Javeria Wadood in their opening game against the West Indies and few niggles to two others.
Luck has been on Pakistan’s side- a team which has shown great character. After beating India in a rain-affected match, they went on to wallop Bangladesh with 21 balls to spare.
England Has the Strength to Go the Distance
While Pakistan’s top order have managed to do well with the bat, it is the middle order that remains a cause for concern at this stage in the tournament.
Spin bowlers Rumana Ahmed and Nahida Aktar were enterprising in patches, but they were not penetrative enough. Their pacers Jahanara Alam and Salma Khan have been costly. On the whole, the Pakistanis lacked consistency in both bat and ball.
On the other hand, England have beaten both India and the West Indies and they have shown that they have the strength to go the distance in the tournament.
They have the advantage of international experience. Captain Charlotte Edwards, Tammy Beaumont, Natalie Sciver and Sara Taylor have batted well in their last three games, while their medium pace trio of Anya Shrubsole, Heather Knight and Katerine Brunt have been among the wickets.
It, however, remains to be seen how England adapt themselves to the slow and spinning track at the Chepauk. The pitch conditions will play a decisive role and the result will hinge on the ability to adapt. Given the relative strengths and merits of the team, the contest is likely to be a battle of attrition, if nothing else.
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