ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020: India Team Preview
Being grouped with Australia and New Zealand, a semi-final berth would be hard-fought but India are likely to make it to the finals of the ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020.
Smriti Mandhana, who has by far been the best Indian batter over the last couple of years, was yet again the top-scorer for India in the recently-concluded Women's T20I tri-series where she plundered 216 runs from just 5 innings at an average of 255 and a super impressive strike rate of 135 +.
Mandhana will be assisted by Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues and Harmanpreet Kaur which forms a solid top four. However, the trouble is the middle order where the likes of Veda Krishnamurthy, Richa Ghosh and Deepti Sharma have not been firing.
Rodrigues though, has stepped up in the last few months. Since the beginning of 2019, she is India’s second-highest scorer in T20Is and the third-highest scorer in ODIs.
Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur's form has been an area of concern for the team. Not only that, her strike rate has also been been on a decline and has never been the same since the 2017 World Cup semi-final.
The bowling options include all-rounders Deepti Sharma, Pooja Vastrakar and Shikha Pandey while Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Radha Yadav and Pooja Yadav are the spinners picked in the squad.
Teenage Bengal batter Richa Ghosh being named in the squad is the biggest talking point. Ghosh had a good run in the Senior Women's T20 Challenger Trophy with 98 runs from four matches. She also notched up over 200 runs in the domestic T20 Trophy at an impressive strike rate of over 135, ending as the second-highest run-scorer for her state team.
Another notable but expected selection is that of 15-year-old Shafali Verma. Like Ghosh, Verma has been in sensational form and scored 189 runs in the T20 Challenger trophy at a strike rate of over 155. This included her jaw-dropping 48-ball 89-run knock in the final which took India C to victory. She will open the batting along with Smriti Mandhana.
The team has continued to show its faith in Harmanpreet Kaur who will lead the side. Talented opening batter Smriti Mandhana has been named her deputy.
Seasoned tweaker Rajeshwari Gayakwad has retained her place in the side. Gayakwad had a good run in the T20 Challenger trophy where she put in a shift for India C.
Other players to make India's T20 World Cup squad include Harleen Deol who was ruled out of the T20 Challenger Trophy due to an injury, but has found a place in the WC squad. Likewise, Poonam Yadav, after missing out on the tournament due to injury, is part of the squad.
Squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harleen Deol, Veda Krishnamurthy, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Deepti Sharma, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav, Arundhati Reddy, Rajeshwari Gaekwad, Richa Ghosh
After registering comprehensive series victories over South Africa and West Indies, India finished runners-up in the tri-nation final. The team was beaten by rivals Australia by 11 runs.
Record in T20 World Cups
India won the third place playoff against Australia in the inaugural edition of the Women's T20 World Cup. They were beaten by the Aussies in the semi-final next year.
The team suffered an all-time low in the 2012 edition with them returning back home without a win. India failed to qualify to the semis in 2014.
They hosted the 2016 edition but with only one win from their four group matches, they could never move out of the group stage. In 2018, the team had a leap of faith on the back of a successful 2017 ODI World Cup campaign and qualified for the semis, only to be beaten by England by 8 wickets.
India are placed at the 4th spot in T20I rankings with 9949 points and 262 ratings. Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues and Harmanpreet Kaur are the three Indian batters in top 10 while Radha Yadav and Deepti Sharma occupy the fourth and fifth spot in the bowler rankings.
Harmanpreet Kaur - "It wasn’t so long ago that a par score in T20 cricket was 120 or 130. Now, that’s not enough. Teams are looking much more confident and trying to get bigger scores on the board. It’s that change in mindset that means performances are getting better across the board and the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 has the potential to revolutionise the game even further.
"If I look back two years, India’s 50-over side was doing well and our T20 was struggling. But in the past two years, we have transformed as a T20 team and are very positive going to Australia. When you look at the other teams competing in the World Cup, they’re all looking in good shape ahead of the tournament."
Prediction - Runners-up
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