Chennai: Title contenders England would look to maintain their unbeaten run and seal a semifinal berth when they take on Pakistan in their last group league match of the Women's World Twenty20 cricket tournament in Chennai on Sunday.
England, the winner of the inaugural edition in 2009 and runners-up to Australia in the last two tournaments, have won all their three league matches so far in Group B to lead the table with six points.
There is still a possibility of a three way tie in the group if Pakistan beat England and the West Indies also emerge victorious against India on Sunday. In that scenario, the net run rate will decide which two sides qualify for the semifinals from the group.
On paper, both the sides appear evenly matched though Pakistan are rather depleted due to the injury to their solid opener Javeria Wadood in their opening game against the West Indies and few niggles to two others.
Pakistan have shown great character to grind their way to victory with lady luck also smiling on them against India in a rain affected match in New Delhi. They then thrashed Bangladesh by nine wickets with 21 balls to spare.
The Pakistan top order have managed to do well with the bat but it's the middle order that remains a cause of concern for them at the moment.
Their bowlers like spinners Rumana Ahmed and Nahida Aktar showed enterprise in patches but they were not penetrative enough. Their pacers Jahanara Alam and Salma Khan have been costly. On the whole, the Pakistanis lacked the consistency in both bat and ball.
On the other hand, England have beaten both India and the West Indies and they have shown that they have the all-round strength to go the whole distance in the tournament.
They have got the advantage of international experience. Captain Charlotte Edwards, Tammy Beaumont, Natalie Sciver and Sara Taylor have batted well in their last three games, while their medium pace trio of Anya Shrubsole and Heather Knight and Katerine Brunt have been among the wickets.
It, however, remains to be seen as to how England adapt themselves to the slow and spinning track at the Chepauk.
The pitch conditions would again play a decisive role and the result would hinge on the ability to adapt. Given the relative strengths and merits of the team, the contest is likely to be a battle of attrition, if nothing else.