Women’s World Cup: India face Bangladesh in must-win contest as semi-final race heats up

India has been inconsistent in the women’s World Cup so far, winning 2 out of 5 matches so far, but neighbors Pakistan’s Shocking Victory Over the West Indies on Monday the race for the top 4 opened. When India faces Bangladesh on Tuesday at Seddon Park in Hamilton, they will need nothing less than a win to keep their hopes of reaching the final four alive.

India is currently in 4th place with 4 points from 5 matches, 4 points behind South Africa which is in 2nd place. However, with pressure from England (4 points from 5 matches) and New Zealand (4 points from 6 matches), there can be no more missteps for Mithali Raj.

The heavy fluctuations in hitting performance were already a concern and with the ease of Australia chasing a record 278 in the previous match, the Indian bowlers need to step up too.

The bowling looked rather flat against the Aussies, who attacked from ball one and applied pressure. The move to drop an extra bowling option in Deepti Sharma and bring back batter Shafali Verma didn’t work either.

Harmanpreet Kaur, who roared back into form with the bat, has yet to be used as an off-spinner in the competition.

It remains to be seen if Shafali will be sustained for the crucial match and Yastika Bhatia will return at the top to open Mandhana along with Smriti.

A positive of the game in Australia was that captain Mithali Raj came back between the runs. After a few quiet games, Mandhana will also score big on Tuesday.

India is in a tricky position as they have not learned as a unit so far and it is something they should correct against Bangladesh, who have shown a lot of promise in their first ODI World Cup appearance.

“The atmosphere remains positive. You do feel down after a loss, but we have a good head start on tomorrow’s game. We will play to win, the net run rate remains secondary,” said all-rounder Sneh Rana, adding that they can’t afford to take Bangladesh lightly.

“Bangladesh has come here by performing. They are always improving. There are no easy matches in this World Cup,” she added.

Bangladesh has been close to most of their opponents in the four matches they have played to date, including a memorable win over Pakistan.

Bangladesh failed to beat 141 against the West Indies in their final match after a brilliant bowling performance and the batting is one area they will need to improve significantly.

SQUADS

Bangladesh: Nigar Sultana (c), Salma Khatun, Rumana Ahmed, Fargana Hoque, Jahanara Alam, Shamima Sultana, Fahima Khatun, Ritu Moni, Murshida Khatun, Nahida Akter, Sharmin Akhter, Lata Mondal, Sobhana Mostary, Fariha Trisna, Suraiya Azmin, Sanjida Akter Meghla.

India: Mithali Raj (c), Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh, Sneh Rana, Jhulan Goswami, Pooja Vastrakar, Meghna Singh, Renuka Singh Thakur, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Rajeshwari Gayakwa , Poonam Yadav. (with PTI inputs)

www.indiatoday.in

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