Deadline: February 27, 2020 at 9:30 AM IST
Venue: Junction Oval, Melbourne
The conditions at Junction Oval are friendly for batters. The average first and second innings scores read 145 and 140 respectively.
Earlier this month at the venue, India chased down a massive target of 177 runs in 19.4 overs against Australia. The openers Shafali Verma (49 off 28) and Smriti Mandhana (55 off 48) set the chase on fire, adding 85 in 8.2 overs together and making matters easy for the middle-order.
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Wicketkeepers: Rachael Priest
Batsmen: Shafali Verma (c), Jemimah Rodrigues, Smriti Mandhana, Suzie Bates
All-rounders: Sophie Devine (vc), Deepti Sharma, Harmanpreet Kaur, Amelia Kerr
Bowlers: Poonam Yadav, Hayley Jensen
NOTE: Pick your fantasy cricket team wisely.
After 16 T20Is, Shafali Verma‘s strike rate reads 149.6. No one, not even Virat Kohli or Babar Azam, could achieve this feat. To be fearless is one thing but to do so consistently and in a stage such as an ICC tournament is remarkable. She has scored — rather smashed — 68 runs with a strike rate of 212.5 in two matches.
Poonam Yadav, the highest wicket-taker of the tournament, followed her four-wicket haul with three wickets against Bangladesh. All this while maintaining an economy of 4.6.
Sophie Devine went all guns blazing in New Zealand’s opener against Sri Lanka, hitting 75 off 55 including 6 fours and 2 sixes. While she is at No. 2 in ICC T20I Rankings for batters, Suzie Bates aces the list. India will have to bowl out of their skin to get the better of this White Ferns duo.
Jemimah Rodrigues and Deepti Sharma have been India’s go-to batters in the middle overs. Both have been exceptional in rotating the strike and keeping their team in the hunt. In addition, Deepti is a gun fielder and completes her full quota of overs.
Amelia Kerr and Hayley Jensen took 5 wickets between them against Sri Lanka. In the practice match against Thailand, Amelia scored 54 off 40; she is as useful an all-rounder as any.
Harmanpreet Kaur has not scored a half-century since September 2018. However, the Harmonster can explode anytime, and when that happens, the opposition is reduced to a mere punching bag.
Smriti Mandhana‘s highest T20I score (86) came against New Zealand a year ago in Hamilton. However, there’s no news on her fitness yet: she missed India’s previous match due to viral fever. Richa Ghosh will continue playing in the XI if Mandhana doesn’t recover.
India: Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Deepti Sharma, Veda Krishnamurthy, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Shikha Pandey, Arundhati Reddy, Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad
New Zealand: Sophie Devine (c), Rachael Priest (wk), Suzie Bates, Maddy Green, Katey Martin, Katie Perkins, Amelia Kerr, Hayley Jensen, Leigh Kasperek, Lea Tahuhu, Jess Kerr