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India Women eye unassailable lead

by   •  Last updated on 2020-04-13 17:04:16

After taking an early lead in the Twenty20 International series against Sri Lanka, India Women would be looking to pile on more misery for the visitors in the second game at the JSCA International Cricket Stadium in Ranchi on Wednesday (February 24).

The home team stretched their unbeaten streak against the tourists to four games on Monday by registering a comprehensive 34-win victory in the first T20I, thanks to Anuja Patil's brilliant all-round display.

Their batting, bowling and fielding are all clicking at the moment. What bodes well for the hosts is that someone or the other has picked the team up and bailed them out of tricky situations. And Mithali Raj is indeed a relieved captain.

"T20 is something where you can't expect one person to score all the time. There have to be someone or the other standing up every match to pull the team through. That has been happening since the Australia tour. We've had a new Woman of the Match that shows everybody are raring to go and want to step up to perform for the team. If everybody chips in with 20-30 runs, it gets very easy for all of us and have a big total to defend," Raj told Cricbuzz after the first game on Monday.

High on confidence after winning four games on the trot, this will be India's chance to experiment a bit and try out different team combinations in the lead up to the ICC World Twenty20 next month.

The Sri Lankan team, on the other hand, has looked out of sorts so far on the tour. Their batting has let them down and Shashikala Siriwardene, Sri Lanka captain, acknowledged that it is high time for the batters to step up.

"We had high hopes because we have done well against India in the T20s. But once again, our openers failed. Batting is lacking at the moment. The openers need to find form soon because the World Cup very close now," Shashikala said on the eve of the game.

The Sri Lankan skipper also hinted that the team might see a change at the top if the form of the batsmen continues to be their weak link. "Maybe we'll have a change. We have other openers, we'll sit and decide in the evening meeting," she said."We have four all-rounders, so we'll be mixing pace and spin. We'll take a call according to the situation tomorrow."

Asked if they are preparing any different, having lost all games on the tour so far, Shashikala said: "We're hoping to rotate the strike better. It's not easy to score sixes in this ground, so we'll have to find runs along the ground."

Both the teams underwent intense nets and gym session on the eve of the game. Purnima Rau, India coach, had an extended session with wicketkeeper-bat Sushma Verma, stressing on diving and positioning skills.

Eshani Lokusuriyage, who was unwell, sat out of the practice but Lanka de Silva, Sri Lanka head coach, confirmed her availability for the second game.

The match will be played on the same track as the one used for the first game and Basudev, head groundsmen, acknowledged it will be another good day for the batters.

Squads (from):

India Women: Mithali Raj(c), Jhulan Goswami, Thirush Kamini, Veda Krishnamurthy, Nagarajan Niranjana, Poonam Yadav, Sushma Verma(w), Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Shikha Pandey, Vellaswamy Vanitha, Sneh Rana, Anuja Patil

Sri Lanka Women: Shashikala Siriwardene(c), Nilakshi de Silva, Udeshika Prabodhani, Dilani Manodara, Yasoda Mendis, Chamari Atapattu, Chandima Gunaratne, Oshadi Ranasinghe, Prasadani Weerakkody(w), Sugandika Kumari, Hansima Karunaratne, Ama Kanchana, Eshani Lokusuriyage, Nipuni Hansika, Inoka Ranaweera