Bristol [UK]: After getting their four-match unbeaten streak to a halt, the Indian eves will now look to take a step closer towards securing a semi-final berth when they take on Australia in their Women’s World Cup encounter at the County Ground, Bristol on Wednesday.
The Mithali Raj-led side were on a winning run against England, West Indies, Pakistan and Sri Lanka before South Africa gave them a 115-run win.
Similarly, Australia’s four-match winning run was stopped by England in the previous game.
Going into the match, following are the facts between the two sides:
• India have only won eight times in 41 attempts against Australia in this format; they did claim a five-wicket victory in the most recent encounter however.
• Australia’s six-game winning run came to an end last time out (against England) whilst India also suffered a defeat in their most recent outing; it was only their second loss in 23 ODIs.
• Australia have taken on India twice before in England (ODI cricket); they have won on both occasions.
• Mithali Raj (India) requires 34 to go top on the list of all-time leading ODI run-scorers; she is currently on 5959, Charlotte Edwards tops that list (5992).
• Meg Lanning is 77 away from becoming only fourth player to reach 3,000 ODI runs for Australia whilst team-mate Megan Schutt is only two wickets away from 50 in ODI cricket.
Meanwhile, Raj wants her team to play ‘fearless’ cricket. It’s something it has shown itself capable of, in the qualifier win over South Africa back in February and against England in the opening game of this World Cup, for instance.
“We started well, but we have not been consistent with the way we wanted to play in the tournament,” admitted Raj. “The first two games were good for the team, but we really didn’t look anywhere close to that brand of cricket against Sri Lanka or Pakistan, and we dipped hugely in the game against South Africa.
“But again, it is just a matter of a few players coming back into form and getting runs under their belt. The standard of women’s cricket is such that 200 is not a target that we would want.”
“We are looking around 250-plus. To score 250, you need to bat, you need to have your top order getting runs, and not the lower order. If we’re playing Australia and we look forward to good cricket and we’re aiming to beat them, then it requires us to be at our best in all departments,” she added.
Against Australia, India will need to be at its best, not just better than it was in its previous outing, stressed Raj.
Australia: Meg Lanning (captain), Sarah Aley, Kristen Beams, Nicole Bolton, Alex Blackwell, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Belinda Vakarewa, Elyse Villani and Amanda-Jade Wellington.
India: Mithali Raj (captain), Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Smrti Mandhana, Mona Meshram, Shikha Pandey, Poonam, Nuzhat Parween, Punam Raut, Deepti Sharma and Sushma Verma.