The Indian team would be desperate to move on from the run out incident involving Deepti Sharma and focus on the Asia Cup.
Sylhet, Bangladesh: An in-form India would look to carry forward the momentum of a historic ODI series sweep in England while trying to put behind the “Mankading” controversy as they open their women’s Asia Cup T20 campaign against Sri Lanka here on Saturday.
The Indian women haven’t had a lot of success of late in the T20 format but at the continental level, Harmanpreet Kaur’s team will start as clear favourites.
Barring their only blemish in the last edition of the tournament, India have won all the Asia Cup titles since the event’s inception in 2004 (4 titles in ODI format and 2 in T20 version).
The Asia Cup was transformed from ODI to T20 format in 2012 and India have won twice, while losing to hosts Bangladesh in the last edition in 2018.
And, India would look to assert their continental dominance in the tournament, which returns after a hiatus of four years.
The 2020 edition of the event in Bangladesh was first postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic before being cancelled altogether.
After claiming a historic silver medal at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, where women’s cricket made its debut in T20 format, India suffered a 1-2 away defeat against England earlier this month.
But the Harmanpreet-led side made a fantastic turnaround in the ODIs, clean sweeping England 3-0 to record a historic series victory, which marked a glorious end to Indian bowling legend Jhulan Goswami’s international career.
The Indian series win, however, reignited an intense debate over the spirit of the game after all-rounder Deepti Sharma ran out Charlie Dean during the series-clinching third ODI as the English batter backed up at the non-striker’s end.
The Indian team would be desperate to move on from the incident and focus on the Asia Cup.
On the team’s front, Harmanpreet has been in imperious form. Smriti Mandhana too is in good touch but Shafali Verma, Sabbhineni Meghana and Dayalan Hemalatha need their bats do the talking.
Jemimah Rodrigues’ return to the side after missing the tour of England due to a hand injury, augurs well for India. Wicket-keeper Richa Ghosh, who made a comeback in England after being dropped from the Commonwealth Games, is also in the mix.
India’s seam bowling attack will be led by Renuka Singh, while Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Deepti will be in charge of the spin department.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, will be heavily relying on skipper Chamari Athapaththu to deliver the goods with the bat in the absence young Vishmi Gunaratne, who is out due to a back stress fracture.
The island nation’s middle-order will revolve around Hasini Perera and Harshitha Samarawickrama, while the bowling attack will heavily depend on spinners Inoka Ranaweera and Oshadi Ranasinghe.
The tournament involves seven teams — India, Pakistan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, UAE and hosts Bangladesh. All sides will play each other in a round-robin format — a total of six matches each — with the top four qualifying for semi-finals.
The Teams (from)
India: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana, Deepti Sharma, Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Sabbineni Meghana, Richa Ghosh (wk), Sneh Rana, Dayalan Hemalatha, Meghna Singh, Renuka Thakur, Pooja Vastrakar, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Radha Yadav, KP Navgire.
Sri Lanka: Chamari Atapattu (c), Nilakshi de Silva, Kavisha Dilhari, Achini Kulasuriya, Sugandika Kumari, Harshitha Madhavi, Madushika Methtananda, Hasini Perera, Oshadi Ranasinghe, Inoka Ranaweera, Anushka Sanjeevani (wk), Kaushani Nuthyangana, Malsha Shehani, Rashmi Silva, Tharika Sewwandi.
Match starts at 1 PM.
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