Australia Women vs India Women ICC Women's T20 World Cup match live updates: Shikha Pandey bowls out the final over, and we have an appeal for a caught-behind off the first delivery — which ultimately goes in favour of the hosts as the ball is shown to be landing on grass before settling in the keeper's gloves. Kaur then spreads the field out for Gardner, who then departs off the second ball — getting a thick leading edge that results in an easy catch for the bowler. It's just a formality for the Indians thereafter — a dot and a single off the next two balls, before Strano's run out at the non-striker's end completes a fine 17-run victory for Team India at the start of the seventh edition of the T20 World Cup!
Preview: The seventh edition of the ICC Women's T20 World Cup begins this Friday with hosts Australia facing powerhouses India in the opening game of the tournament in Sydney.
Despite stuttering on a couple of occasions in the recent triangular T20 series featuring India and England, Australia enter the tournament as strong favourites to lift the title yet again, having handed arch-rivals England an eight-wicket hammering in the final of the previous edition hosted in the Caribbean.
Australia are the most successful team in women's cricket of all time, having won six ODI World Cups and four T20 World Cups till date and are ahead in the Women's Ashes with six victories till date.
However, Harmanpreet Kaur's India represent a team that's vastly evolved over the previous decade into genuine world-beaters, with a string of successful results in recent times to boast of. The team came quite close to winning the tri-series earlier this month — suffering a collapse not very different from the one against England in the 2017 World Cup final.
Skipper Harmanpreet has already stated that the team will need all-round contributions, especially from youngsters such as Shafali Verma, and not just from one or two senior players if they are to end their T20 World Cup jinx — having reached the semis thrice, including in 2018, without progressing any further.
The match will kick off an event that will go on for more than two weeks, with the final slated to take place at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 8 March (Women's Day). The organisers are hoping to break the world record for the biggest attendance in a women's sporting event by surpassing the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup final between USA and China that was watched by 90,185 at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena in the United States.
Tickets for the opening game are also being sold like hot cakes and the Australia-India contest at the Sydney Showground Stadium is expected to be every bit as noisy as a packed house would entail.
India Women Squad: Shafali Verma, Smriti Mandhana, Richa Ghosh, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur(c), Deepti Sharma, Arundhati Reddy, Shikha Pandey, Radha Yadav, Taniya Bhatia(w), Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Veda Krishnamurthy, Pooja Vastrakar, Harleen Deol
Australia Women Squad: Alyssa Healy(w), Beth Mooney, Ashleigh Gardner, Meg Lanning(c), Ellyse Perry, Annabel Sutherland, Rachael Haynes, Nicola Carey, Jess Jonassen, Megan Schutt, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Georgia Wareham, Erin Burns, Molly Strano