The Indian women's cricket team, riding on two victories in as many matches, will face Pakistan in the ICC Women's World Cup on Sunday.
Though Pakistan had a close encounter with South Africa in its first match, they were outplayed in all departments against England and are presently at the bottom of the point table.
This will be the tenth encounter between the two teams and India goes into the match with a clear advantage.
Pakistan has never beaten India in the past nine matches.
The Pakistan women's team have battled a lot of conflicts to reach their present level of 'stability'. The women's team would like to take inspiration from the performance of the men's team that recently defied all odds to win the 2017 Champions Trophy.
India would like to extend its unbeaten record further and improve their run rate to go to the top of the points table.
With the tournament still in its nascent stages, the field is open for anybody to reach the knock-out phase.
Ahead of Sunday's match between the two neighbouring countries, here is a look at the game-changers from both sides.
The 20-year-old left-handed opener, playing her first World Cup, has been awarded player of the match in India's victories against England and West Indies in this tournament. Mandhana's selection as the first-choice opener was debated extensively following her injury and the batting display by stand-by openers Deepti Sharma and Mona Meshram. However, she has silenced the skeptics with her consistency in this tournament scoring a 90 and 106 in the first two matches to cement the opening slot.
India's chances of victory would benefit from Smriti Mandhana extending her golden run with the bat against Pakistan.
The Indian captain and the all-time leading run scorer for the country across all formats is in imperious form. Mithali scored 46 against the West Indies, 4 runs short of a record eighth successive half century. Riding on such a crest, Mithali would like to convert those scores into a big one in this tournament.
India's batting legend may be in the final stages of a career that started with a debut century in 1999 and in what is considered to her last world cup, Mithali would like to go on a high and improve from the 2005 campaign where they lost to Australia in the final. India would require the services of their seasoned batswoman to win their first World Cup.
In May 2017, Deepti Sharma entered the record books with a score of 188, the highest individual score by an Indian woman in ODI's, against a hapless Ireland to hit the second highest score in ODI cricket. The 19-year-old has now proved to be a worthy all-rounder and the future of Indian cricket by becoming the country's highest-wicket taker in this World Cup. With a tally of five wickets in the two matches and a stingy economy rate to boast of, Deepti has been the centre-point of the country's plans to win the tournament. An effective all-rounder, Deepti could make a major difference with both bat and ball in this encounter against Pakistan.
The 22-year-old opener has gone from strength to strength since making her debut in 2015. In the rain-curtailed match against England, Ayesha Zafar was holding fort with a patient 56* that was testament to her temperament in her first World Cup. A future batting mainstay for the team, Ayesha Zafar burst into the main scene with a century against Papua New Guinea in a World Cup qualifier. Zafar would like to display her striking capabilities against the Indian attack that would facilitate Pakistan's first ODI victory over its neighbours and ensure the world takes a note of her talent.
One of the senior-most players of the Pakistan team is among their most prolific run-getters, 13 runs short of 2000 career runs. The top order batswoman with the highest individual score by a Pakistan woman cricketer has had a relatively subdued World Cup. With the untimely exit of Bismah Maharoof due to an injury, it is up to Javeria Khan to take up the responsibility of the batting and pull Pakistan out of its present position on the points table and become a force to reckon with in the world stage.
Captain Sana Mir holds the distinction of being the only Pakistan bowler to have taken 100 wickets. The 8th ranked ODI bowler is the only Pakistan player in the top 20 of the ICC ODI bowling rankings. Though she hasn't had an impressive World Cup with the ball, she has been an excellent skipper holding the relatively inexperienced team together.
India should not take the wily off-spinner and the effective lower-order batter who has turned up for Pakistan for the most number of matches lightly.
Looking at the present form and line-up, India seem to be having the upper hand over Pakistan. However, Pakistan would like to change their abysmal record in ODI's against India. Though, the tournament has a long way to go, both teams would be looking forward to assimilate points and keep them in running for a knock-off spot. India and Pakistan would look at these players to rally the team around them and script what will either be a record-extending or a record-breaking win.
Published Date: Jul 01, 2017 15:27 PM | Updated Date: Jul 01, 2017 15:27 PM