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India vs Sri Lanka, ICC Women's World Cup 2017: Mithali Raj & Co. Look to Carry on Momentum

PTI | Updated: July 5, 2017, 2:48 PM IST
India vs Sri Lanka, ICC Women's World Cup 2017: Mithali Raj & Co. Look to Carry on Momentum

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Derby: High on confidence after three wins on the trot, India would look to continue their unbeaten streak and take another step towards a semifinal berth when they face a lowly Sri Lanka in the ICC Women's World Cup. The Indians, enjoying good run, would certainly start as overwhelming favourites against Sri Lanka, who have looked below-par in the tournament so far with three defeats from as many matches.

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If there's anything called momentum in cricket, it is with the Indian team at the moment. "We definitely will look into the fact that we don't lose wickets back-to-back because that puts a lot of pressure on the incoming batters as well as the team. We need to work on our partnerships as batters," Indian skipper Mithali Raj said.

"In terms of bowling, the spinners have been doing well, (against Pakistan) the pacers looked better than the last two games so it depends which wicket we play on against Sri Lanka. If it's a fresh wicket, then we have different plans for it," she added.

Having comprehensively won last four ODI series — whitewashing Sri Lanka and the West Indies at home before beating South Africa in the finals of the World Cup qualifier as well as the quadrangular series — besides three wins in the round robin stage of the ongoing event, the Indian women would not want to lose the rhythm at any cost.

India made a dream start to the tournament by stunning hosts England by 35 runs before trouncing West Indies by seven wickets in their next encounter, while their 95-run win over arch-rivals Pakistan in the last match has only helped them grow in confidence.

Having six points from three games, India are at the top of the table.

After a couple of impressive outings by the batters in the first two ties, the previous match witnessed left-arm spinner Ekta Bisht (10-2-18-5) and company defending a meagre total of 169, skittling Pakistan out for 74 in 38.1 overs. Another key bowler for India is Deepti Sharma, whose off-spin has been instrumental in controlling the middle overs.

She has been equally good with her fielding, producing one crucial direct hit against England. Poonam Yadav and Harmanpreet Kaur are the other bankable bowlers. Jhulan Goswami, the highest wicket-taker in ODI history, may not have clicked so far but she would still be leading the bowling attack and would be keen to make a contribution.

On the batting front, opener Smriti Mandhana looks to be enjoying the form of her life, while captain Mithali Raj and Poonam Raut lend a lot of firepower. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, are yet to taste victory.

They lost to New Zealand by nine wickets in the tournament opener before being handed an eight-wicket thrashing by Australia and another seven-wicket defeat by England. The Lankans would rely heavily on Chamari Athapaththu to make a difference against the formidable Indians.

TEAMS: India Women (Playing XI): Punam Raut, Smriti Mandhana, Deepti Sharma, Mithali Raj(c), Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Sushma Verma(w), Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Ekta Bisht, Poonam Yadav
Sri Lanka Women (Playing XI): Nipuni Hansika, Hasini Perera, Chamari Atapattu, Shashikala Siriwardene, Dilani Manodara(w), Prasadani Weerakkody, Oshadi Ranasinghe, Chandima Gunaratne, Ama Kanchana, Sripali Weerakkody, Inoka Ranaweera(c)

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First Published: July 5, 2017, 10:06 AM IST

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1 India 5313 121
2 South Africa 4484 115
3 Australia 4174 104
4 New Zealand 3489 100
5 England 4829 99
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