India will face the formidable and in-form Australia at Eden Park which is a deciding match for India to hold on to the Semi’s spot. Australia have won all the matches it played so far with conviction and unmatched all-round domination. This win for Aussies would mean that they have sealed their spot for the Semifinals.
India has both positives and an equal number of drawbacks to work on. India’s inconsistency with the bat brings many factors into focus, be it the unstable selection issue in the initial face of the tournament. Tweaks in the batting order have led to the confusion in roles of the batters, thus they faced the urn. They lacked clarity of roles whether to give starts, stabilise or finish. For example, Deepti Sharma who has been previously playing at the lower order couldn’t adapt herself at the Number 3 slot in the batting order.
The opening batters selection is itself a matter of ambiguity in the initial matches. Then Yastika Bhatia as a consistent option for opening the innings yielded mixed outcomes. But this decision can’t be reversed now at this junction of the tournament, as it will hamper the team’s idea, preparation and process that were designed for her at that slot. Yastika has to back her skill and give India good starts and also play longer innings consistently.
That will ease out the pressure on upcoming players. Mithali as a stable batter is capable of holding the innings together by absorbing pressure at one end and allowing other players to have a free hand. This way the middle order gets stabilised, players like Harmanpreet Kaur, Pooja Vastrakar can play their natural game in an aggressive fashion. The Indian bowlers are the core pillar of India’s stability. They have been giving breakthroughs, defending low scores and bowling accurate spells. This team needs their complete effort to pull off a win against the world’s number one team.
Aussies bowling is a major threat to any batting unit in this world cup. Both the batting and bowling departments have incredible depth and any player could play an aggressive inning in the most pressing situations and race the team towards victory. Raechal Haynes’ consistency and being the crisis manager at top of the order will look to carry forward her contribution. The middle-order is stabilised by Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry. Lower order has Beth Mooney and Ashleigh Gardner, both these players can have an attacking style of play and also finish matches. So the depth in itself is a mighty force the opposite team will have to initially reckon with.
The Aussies are a well-prepared team and their target in this game is to overcome their previous heartbreak in the 2017 world cup semi-finals against India. If one team could break the Aussies winning streak, it was India. Though India didn’t win the last series Against Australia, they showed their relentless pursuit to win over Australia.
Indian batters have to apply and show resistance against the phenomenal bowling attack of the Aussies. It might seem like Aussies have an upper hand given their unbeatable track record in this tournament but India also is an able challenger highly capable to overwhelm the mighty Aussies.
Probable Playing XI:
AUSTRALIA: Rachael Haynes, Meg Lanning (C), Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy (WK), Ashleigh Gardner, Beth Mooney, Meghan Schutt, Amanda Wellington, Tahlia McGrath, Darcie Brown, Alana King
INDIA: Smriti Mandhana, Yastika Bhatia, Mithali Raj (C), Harmanpreet Kaur, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh (WK) Pooja Vastrakar, Sneh Rana, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Meghna Singh