The Smriti Mandhana-led side know that a loss will consign them to a second consecutive T20I series defeat since the Women’s World T20 held in late 2018.
After the tournament, in which India lost the semi-final to England, they were on the wrong end of a 3-0 scoreline in a T20I series in New Zealand despite finding themselves in winning situations in all matches.
But in order to have any chance of levelling the series, the hosts will have to put together a better all-round performance than they did in the previous match.
Stand-in skipper Mandhana had said after the last game that they gave away a few extra runs, something that was evident in the way most batsmen went for big shots in the second innings but ended up losing their wicket instead.
The top four batsmen contributed a combined 19 runs, in stark contrast to England’s top order which made 142 of their 160 runs in the first innings.
India are without regular skipper Harmanpreet Kaur for the series, meaning there is more pressure on Mandhana as well as Mithali Raj, who is expected to anchor the middle order.
Raj’s long-term T20 career might be under the scanner but she showed in the New Zealand series that she can still bring value to the side, even if not playing as an opener.
However, neither Mandhana nor Raj came to the party in the previous game. Debutant Harleen Deol failed to impress, as did Jemimah Rodrigues and Veda Krishnamurthy.
To make matters worse the bowling department also had a mixed showing, meaning Mandhana’s bow as T20I captain was a day to forget.
For England, the aim will be to do more of the same. Their batting unit fired well in the first game and the bowling department also had a decent showing, meaning they will look to keep up the form as they bid to seal a series win against a young and under-pressure India side.
India: Smriti Mandhana (C), Mithali Raj, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Taniya Bhatia (WK), Bharti Fulmali, Anuja Patil, Shikha Pandey, Komal Zanzad, Arundhati Reddy, Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht, Radha Yadav, Veda Krishnamurty, Harleen Deol.
England: Heather Knight (C), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Sophia Dunkley Brown, Freya Davies, Sophie Ecclestone, Georgia Elwiss, Amy Ellen Jones (WK), Laura Marsh, Natalie Sciver, Anya Shrubsole, Linsey Smith, Lauren Winfield, Danielle Wyatt.
First Published: March 6, 2019, 11:36 AM IST