Ireland vs Pakistan, Group B
Ireland came into the tournament after finishing as runners-up in qualifying event and in the first game itself they got a taste of what it is like playing in the big league. It didn't help that they came up against the World No.1 side in Australia as they were handed a thorough nine-wicket whipping.
It will be tough to comeback after such a tough loss but with three games to go, Ireland will need to put their best foot forward and put up a better performance against Pakistan, who themselves are short of confidence having been beaten twice, first a 52-run defeat against Australia and then a seven-wicket loss at the hands of India.
Ireland could only manage 93/6 in 20 overs against Australia in their first game which was never going to be enough against the No.1 side in the world. With a not as threatening attack in Pakistan, Ireland will be hoping for the likes of Care Shillington, Kim Garth, Laura Delany, and the Joyce sisters come good. Their bowling as well lacked the teeth needed and they know to overcome a strong team such as Pakistan a collective team effort is the need of the hour.
Pakistan, on the other hand, have problems aplenty. Having lost both their games, the T20I against Ireland becomes important not just for them to stay alive in the tournament but also to help them qualify directly for the next edition of the tournament. It is the batting that Pakistan will have to rectify especially their top-order. Ayesha Zafar has scores of 0 and 2 in the two games, and promoting Javeria Khan to open has also not quite gone in their favour.
Bismah Maroof and Nida Dar's half-century in the previous game will provide them some relief as they hope for all their batters to fire in unison come Tuesday.
The other thing for Pakistan to take a close look will be their running between the wickets. They were penalized 10 runs after being warned multiple times by the umpires for running in the danger zone which in a lot of ways cost them the last match against India.
Australia vs New Zealand, Group B
Two powerhouses in world cricket, ranked No.1 & No.2 in the world, arch-rivals, and probably favourites coming into the tournament. A mouth-watering affair is in the offing with the game holding a lot of importance for both Australia and New Zealand.
Australia, having won both their opening encounters rather convincingly will in all probability seal a semi-final spot if they get this one in the bag. For New Zealand, who suffered a slightly unexpected defeat at the hands of India, one more loss will make the road to the semi-finals that more tricky.
On the basis of form alone, Australia certainly look the stronger unit. They are the top-ranked side in the world and have played like one. Alyssa Healy, who has slammed fours 50s in her last six T20Is and is just coming off a 21-ball half-century against Ireland, will once again look to give Australia a strong start. Such has been her dominance in recent times that her opening partner, Beth Mooney, despite consistent performances has slipped under the radar.
With the likes of Meg Lanning, Ashleigh Gardner, Elyse Villani and Ellyse Perry to follow, Australia's batting lineup is certainly one of the best, if not the best in this tournament. Their bowling lineup as well, led by Meghan Schutt backed up by Perry and the spinners in Sophie Molineux, Delissa Kimmince, Georgia Wareham, is one of the finest.
Despite this, Australia are not taking New Zealand lightly one bit. "We’ll be treating this as a semi-final-type game; we want to top the pool, so beating New Zealand is a big part of that," said Australia head coach Matthew Mott
"They’ve had a few days off, so they’ll be determined to bounce back. They’ve got world-class players. In T20s, they have arguably been the strongest team in the last couple of years. We’ve had the wood on them in the last series, but before that, they have given us a few headaches."
New Zealand though would not be too distraught after their loss to India. It took the brilliance of one player in Harmanpreet Kaur who scored a brilliant ton to push the New Zealanders back. Despite conceding 194/5 the batters led by Suzie Bates were aggressive in the chase and will be confident when they step onto the field on Tuesday.
They have had a few days off and will want to put up a good show in what is a very important game for them.
Rain is once again likely to make an appearance in Guyana. The drainage at the Guyana National Stadium is good and we should expect a full game.
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First Published: November 13, 2018, 2:54 PM IST