India Women vs Pakistan Women: Preview and Prediction
The mega event of the 2023 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup is gearing up for a grand kick-off as the greatest cricketing rivalry will be taking place on its third match day. India Women and Pakistan Women will be lining up to write yet another chapter of historical neighborhood rivalry at the grandest stage of Women’s T20 cricket. The high-profile Group B contest will be held at Newlands venue of Cape Town city on the upcoming Super Sunday.
The runners-up of the previous edition led by skipper Harmanpreet Kaur missed out on their maiden WT20I glory from the shortest distance in 2020. Team India remains the only nation among the teams who have made more than two semi-final appearances and is still yet to get their hands on the prestigious world trophy. Meanwhile, the ultimate aim for captain Bismah Maroof and the company will be to take the Pakistani banner into the knockout round for the first time.
The Indian roster for the WT20 World Cup features the two brightest stars from their U-19 glory as the skipper Shefali and Richa Ghosh have added positivity to the senior side with their recent triumph.
The 19-year-old teenage sensation Richa has cemented her place in the Indian middle-order after playing an incredible knock of not-out 91 runs from 56 balls against Bangladesh. Smriti Mandhana will also return to the playing XI to pair up with Shefali for the opening spot after opting out of the last warm-up game.
The 2021 ICC Women’s emerging cricketer of the year, Fatima Sana will be stepping up as the lead Pakistani pacer in the heartfelt absence of Diana Baig. The dynamite opening batter Sidra Ameen seems the only hope for the Pakistan fans after a series of horrific recent performances by their top-order.
However, the middle order in the absence of general Bismah Maroof and veteran Nida Dar is capable enough to save the Green Shirts from an early crisis in difficult circumstances.
What have they done so far?
Pakistan kick-started their final World Cup preparations in the South African conditions by facing the arch-rivals Bangladesh in the opening warm-up game. The veteran Nida Dar starred in a six-wicket triumph for the Women in Green delivering a perfect all-round performance. The Pakistani side could not replicate the prowess against the home team in the following warm-up fixture and lost the encounter by 6 wickets.
On the other hand, the defending champions Australia thrashed the spirited Indian side at a losing margin of 44 runs on the opening warm-up day. The Women in Blue daunted the five-time Women’s T20 champions on 129 but collapsed while chasing the target and managed to put up only 85 runs on the board.
However, India Women staged a quick turnaround in the next game to post a humongous total of 183 in the first innings against neighborhood rivals and registered a thumping 52-run victory.
Head to Head record
Women’s sides of the two cricketing powerhouse nations have squared off against each other 13 times in the fastest international format. The inaugural face-off was won by the Women in Blues who have registered 10 victories over their neighboring country since the first encounter in June 2009. Meanwhile, the Green Shirts have emerged victorious only thrice in the Indo-Pak saga to date.
The most recent chapter of this rivalry occurred at the 2022 Women’s Asia Cup in October when the Pakistani girls shocked the blue feminine to deliver a major upset.
Team India kick-started the run-chase on a steady note but stumbled midway and remained 13 runs short before getting all-out on the final score of 124. However, the Women in Green eventually failed to qualify for the knockouts while India ended up lifting their seventh continental title.
Deepti Sharma: In the absence of Harmanpreet Kaur for the second warm-up game, Deepti led the Indian side to a comfortable 52-run victory. She was the sole survivor in the opening practice fixture with an unbeaten knock of 19 runs and also bagged two Bangla wickets in the following game.
The 25-year-old bowling all-rounder had a great individual outing in the recently concluded tri-series scalping 9 wickets in 5 matches and also claimed player of the match honors in the last two appearances.
Nida Dar: The 36-year-old legendary all-rounder is ageing like a fine wine for Pakistan and will be playing a prominent role in their T20 World Cup campaign. Dar chastised an unprepared Team India in the group stages of the Women’s Asia Cup smashing 56 runs off 37 balls along with two crucial wickets.
The highly-skilled Pakistani spinner will be posing as the biggest threat to Women in Blue owing to her illustrious current form with Deepti, Pooja Vastrakar, and Rajeshwari Gayakwad spinning the web for the Indian bowling attack.
Predicted Playing XI
India Women: Smriti Mandhana, Shefali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Richa Ghosh, Harmanpreet Kaur, Yastika Bhatia (wk), Deepti Sharma, Pooja Vastrakar, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Shikha Pandey, Renuka Singh
Pakistan Women: Sidra Ameen, Javeria Khan, Muneeba Ali (wk), Bismah Maroof (c), Nida Dar, Ayesha Naseem, Omaima Sohail, Fatima Sana, Aiman Anwer, Sadia Iqbal, Tuba Hassan
Whether it’s the current form or head-to-head record, the majority of the prediction aspects favor the blue side kick-off their WT20 World Cup with a win. Captain Harmanpreet Kaur and gaffer Hrishikesh Kanitkar need to focus on the strategic plan and correct matchups for the few prominent opposition players like Maroof, Dar, Ameen, and Sana.
As we have already witnessed in the Women’s Asia Cup, undermining this Pakistan side can cost big chunks for the Women in Blue.