Euro 2020 Special

India Women’s Chances at the 2023 T20 World Cup

India have named their squad for the 2023 Women’s T20 World Cup, which will begin in South Africa in February.

The team which will be led by usual captain Harmanpreet Kaur, who will be looking to go one better than the last time the tournament was held in 2020 when they were beaten by Australia in the final.


The squad

The main news is the recall of all-rounder Shikhar Pandey to the squad, who has not played for India for more than a year. However, her performances in domestic cricket for Goa mean that she cannot be ignored, and she will lead a seam attack that also includes Renuka Singh, and rookie left-armer Anjali Sarvani.

Pooja Vastrakar has been named in the initial squad, but that is subject to her being fit enough to play, as she is currently suffering with injury niggles. She has not played since October.

India’s main strength when it comes to bowling is spin and they have made sure they have plenty of options available in that department with the inclusion of Deepti Sharma and Rajeshwari Gayakwad, whilst Devika Vaidya can bowl leg-spin and is also a useful middle order batter.

Richa Ghosh will be the first choice wicketkeeper and is set for a busy few months, as she is also featuring in the inaugural under-19 World Cup in January. Yastika Bhatia will serve as her back-up.

Joining Ghosh in the under-19 event, Shafali Verma is expected to open the innings, whilst Jemimah Rodrigues and Harleen Deol will all be expected to contribute runs at the top of the order.


Tri-nation series

Prior to the World Cup, India will appear in a tri-nation series that also features the host South Africa and the West Indies. That begins for India on January 19th when they will take on the South Africans.

With both Shafali and Ghosh otherwise engaged, Punjab batter Amanjot Kaur has been called up to the India team for the first time, whilst wicketkeeper Sushma Verma has earned a recall.


The World Cup

The World Cup comprises 10 teams which have initially been split into two groups of five teams each. The teams will play each other on a round robin basis with the top two teams in each group advancing to the knock-out stages.

As in the men’s event in Australia earlier this year, should teams finish level in their group in terms of number of points, Net Run Rate will be used to determine the order of precedence.

India have been placed in Group B alongside Pakistan, England, Ireland, and the West Indies. Their campaign begins with the eagerly awaited clash with Pakistan in Cape Town on February 12.

The other group features the hosts South Africa, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, and the defending champions and pre-tournament favourites, Australia.

Matches will be played at Newlands in Cape Town, Paarl, and Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth). The final will be held on 26th February in Cape Town.


India’s chances

In the women’s game, India are still searching for their maiden world title, with that defeat to Australia almost three years ago the closest they have come to ending their trophy doubt.

They had actually beaten the home nation in the group stages, but the Australians proved too strong in the final played at the MCG in Melbourne in front of more than 86,000 fans.

Although India may consider that they are the nearest challengers to Australia especially after claiming Commonwealth Games silver earlier this year, on the evidence of the recent five-match series between the two teams, there may still be a gap that needs to be closed.

Although India won the second match after a Super Over after the scores were tied, Australia won the other four. And given that India had the advantage of playing in home conditions, the Australians can expect to be even stronger in the neutral environment of South Africa.

The fact that Meg Lanning is back to captain the side after a brief career hiatus serves notice to all their rivals they will not give up their title without a fight.

India also could have been given a kinder group draw with England, another of the major challengers also in it, whilst games with Pakistan – whatever the level – are always fiercely competitive.




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