India’s biggest test in the ongoing Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa will be on Thursday (February 23). Team India will face defending champions Australia in the semi-finals. The Australian women has won this tournament the maximum number of times. They captured the titles in 2010, 2012, 2014, 2018 and 2020. The last time they won the trophy, they defeated India in the final. Team India will look to avenge that defeat in Melbourne. However, before this match, the team management has to rectify some shortcomings.
India’s journey in this tournament has been mixed so far. They have achieved four points in two matches by defeating Pakistan and West Indies. After that India got defeated against England. Rain cooperated against Ireland and the team won by five runs using the Duckworth-Lewis method. In these four matches, the team has won due to the performance of some players. It will be difficult to beat Australia because of one or two players. In such a situation, the team will have to improve in many areas.
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The bat of Shefali Verma, who made the Indian women’s Under-19 team the champion under her captaincy, has been silent so far in the tournament. She has been able to play innings of 33, 28, 8 and 24 runs in four matches so far. Shafali started well in the three matches but could not convert it into a big innings. She has failed to learn from her mistakes which include her inability to rotate the strike and her shortcomings against the short ball. Against Australia, she will have to improve in this matter. If this does not happen then the pressure will once again come on the middle order.
Harmanpreet Kaur, who has played 150 T20 matches, is the most experienced batsman of this team. She has had a quiet tournament so far and has been bothered by her shoulder. Leaving the match against the West Indies, she could not even touch the figure of 20 runs. Harmanpreet has played innings of 16, 33, 3 and 13 runs. She could not even score a half-century in the last six innings. Captain Harmanpreet is under a lot of pressure. She is one of the few batsmen who can hit the ball a long distance . However Harmanpreet has a good record vs Australia in knockouts and hence will be determined to perform well.
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Renuka Thakur has been the best performer in the bowling department. She has taken a total of seven wickets. These include five wickets for 15 runs against England. Deepti Sharma gave away a lot of runs in her one over against Ireland. Apart from them, Pooja Vastrakar, Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Radha Yadav have also not been much effective. In such a situation, these bowlers will have to bowl accurately against a strong team like Australia which has a long batting line up full of power hitters .
The players who have done well for India in batting are Smriti Mandhana and Richa Ghosh . Jemima Rodrigues played well v Pakistan . Australian quick Darcie Brown has dismissed Smriti Mandhana a few times in their face offs, a fact the ace Indian batter is well aware of.
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On the other hand Australia under Meg Lanning is a powerhouse team with an array of outstanding batters with great firepower and some great all-rounders and bowlers with around 8 bowling options !! India will have to perform as an unit and a majority of their players have to perform well if India stands any chance to beat Australia .
On the other hand England meets South Africa in the second semi final which is expected to be a slightly more closer game . However England is also playing some great cricket with some of their key players performing well while on the other hand South Africa looked nervous in their modest chase in their must win game vs Bangladesh , though they won by 10 wickets . South Africa teams have a history of choking in the knockouts. Hence England are the favourites to beat South Africa and move into the final