Without legendary Mithali Raj for the first time, the Indian women’s cricket team, under newly-appointed captain Harmanpreet Kaur, will seek a new beginning when they take on the first ODI of the three-game series against Sri Lanka women on Friday. (More Cricket News)
India will be without their two pillars -- Mithali, who retired from cricket earlier this month, and Jhulan Goswami, who is nursing a side strain. The absence of international cricket's most prolific duo is just one of several concerns for Kaur ahead of series opener.
The Indians made a positive start to the tour of island nation by winning the T20 series 2-1 but their performance was far from perfect and while the format will change, the regulars in the side would be keen to put up a dominant display against the lowly-ranked (ninth) Sri Lanka.
The batters struggled on the slow track at Dambulla, unable to breach the 140-run mark in all three T20s and the likes of Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma would hope for a better and consistent show in the 50-over format.
The last time India played a 50-over match was during the World Cup in March, when they failed to qualify for the semifinals. The Indian batting unit have failed to fire as a group back then and would be eager to rectify its weaknesses.
Harmanpreet Kaur herself has been in good touch. After finishing as the highest run-getter for her side in the T20 series, it will auger well for India if the skipper can continue her top form alongside all-rounder Pooja Vastrakar.
Young wicketkeeper Richa Gosh, who shone in the series against New Zealand earlier this year, will be on the look-out for a good show even though team management used Yastika Bhatia as a stop-gap keeper in one of the T20 games.
With the seasoned Jhulan not in the side, the young and relatively inexperienced fast bowling unit comprising Vastrakar, Simran Bahadur, Meghna Singh and Renuka Singh will be tested by the Lankan batting line-up headlined by Chamari Athapaththu.
The spinners have been largely on the mark but struggled in the third game. Poonam Yadav and Rajeshwari Gayakwad will have their task cut out in the longer format. Kaur and Harleen Doel, with her leg breaks, too can pitch in with some useful overs.
The tourists will also have to work on their fielding. They have been sloppy throughout the T20 series, missing a slew of run outs and also dropping catches. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, will be keen to keep the winning momentum going after picking a conciliatory victory in the last T20I.
The hosts performed as a cohesive unit with all department firing. But the batter need to lift their game. Sri Lanka lost the ODI series against Pakistan earlier this month and would be hoping to avoid a second consecutive series loss in the format.
The Indian women have an impressive head-to-head record against Sri Lanka women. Out of the 29 games played between both sides, India women have won 26 losing just two. Only one game ended in no result.
When Is Sri Lanka Women vs India Women First ODI?
The Sri Lanka women vs India women first ODI is on July 1 at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium. The SL-W vs IND-W first ODI starts on 10 AM IST/local.
Where To Watch Sri Lanka Women vs India Women First ODI?
FanCode will live stream the Sri Lanka women vs India women first ODI cricket match in India. The SL-W vs IND-W first ODI will also be available on Sri Lanka Cricket’s official YouTube channel. The Sri Lanka women vs India women first ODI.
India: Harmanpreet Kaur (C), Smriti Mandhana (VC), Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia (wk), S Meghana, Deepti Sharma, Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Simran Bahadur, Richa Ghosh (wk), Pooja Vastrakar, Meghna Singh, Renuka Singh, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Harleen Deol.
Sri Lanka: Chamari Athapaththu (c), Nilakshi de Silva, Kavisha Dilhari, Vishmi Gunaratne, Ama Kanchana, Hansima Karunaratne, Achini Kulasuriya, Sugandika Kumari, Harshitha Samarawickrama, Hasini Perera, Udeshika Prabodhani, Oshadi Ranasinghe Inoka Ranaweera, Sathya Sandeepani, Anushka Sanjeewani, Malsha Shehani, Tharika Sewwandi.