CWG medal awaits India as they rekindle English rivalry

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05 Aug 2022 | 01:48 PM
authorShweta Haranhalli

CWG medal awaits India as they rekindle English rivalry

The winner of this high-voltage clash will confirm a medal for their nation in this multi-sport event

It promises to be an incredibly special weekend for all the cricketing fans across the globe as the Commonwealth Games are heading into the business end with the top four teams in world cricket eying for the first-ever gold medal in the multi-sport event. 

On Saturday, as the Women in Blue set foot at Edgbaston, a million eyes will be glued to the television sets apart from the thousands of spectators in the stadium as history awaits India against their high-flying English rivals. 

The last time these two sides locked horns in a world event in the shortest format was in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup in Australia, where relentless showers resulted in the match being abandoned and England bowing out of the iconic tournament. 

It is fair to say that England surely have unfinished business against the Women in Blue and will be itching to erase the dreadful memories of that very semi-finals with an inspired performance on Saturday and seal a medal for the nation.

The emergence of Alice Capsey 

While they would be hurting with the news of Heather Knight being ruled out of the Games due to a hip injury, they found an able replacement in Alice Capsey, who has changed the dynamics of England cricket in the five games she has featured thus far for the national side. 

In the absence of Knight, Capsey has taken to the number three position seamlessly well and shouldered the bulk of the responsibility of the side with scores of 44, 50 and 23 in the three league matches. At the tender age of 17, the right-handed batter has been the find as far as the home team is concerned and will be crucial to their chances in the semi-finals. 

Shafali vs Brunt: A battle to savour for ages

And while we are talking about one teenager, there is another youngster in the Indian side who has taken the cricketing world by storm with her exploits at the international level.

When India toured England last year, Shafali Verma enthralled the fans with a scintillating knock in her debut Test match and the white-ball series that followed. 

While it was fascinating to witness her emergence in international cricket, it was her battle with Katherine Brunt that set the eyeballs rolling. 

The veteran fast bowler bowled a barrage of short pitch deliveries targeting the body, exposing a possible chink in the armour of the youngster. 

Despite struggling with the new ploy, Shafali tackled it in an unusual way and created room for herself and moved away from the line of the ball to slash it towards deep mid-wicket or the third man region. 

With the wicket in Birmingham expected to help Brunt extract bounce, it promises to be a mouth-watering contest and something that could potentially sway the game in favour of the team winning this mini battle. 

Radha Yadav's diminishing returns 

In the three matches, India have pretty much ticked all their bases, but there is one area where Harmanpreet Kaur would be racking her brain is the lack of consistency from the left-arm spinners for the Women in Blue heading into this clash. 

After India's defeat to Australia in the inaugural game, India dropped Rajeshwari Gayakwad from the playing XI and persisted with Radha Yadav, despite her diminishing returns. The 22-year-old has scalped three wickets at an average of 23.3 and conceded at an economy rate of seven runs per over, which is the worst among spinners with a minimum of 10 overs in the Games.

With Australia tottering at 49 for five in the opening clash, the spinners leaked runs through the middle overs to help them get over the line by three wickets. 

In the four overs she bowled, she conceded 42 runs at an economy rate of 10.5 runs per over with five boundaries and two sixes. While India would be worried about her indifferent form, one of the tactics deployed by her and the skipper raised plenty of eyebrows. 

With the ball going away, they opted not to have any fielder patrolling the off-side boundary, which resulted in the Indian team leaking runs through the back end of the innings. 

The home team has a plethora of hard-hitting right-handers in the side in Nat Sciver and Amy Jones, and Danielle Wyatt, Radha's spell in the game could decide the fortunes of the clash. 

Because remember barring her and Rajeshwari Gayakwad, India do not have an option of an away going bowler to the right-handers. 

Over to Edgbaston!

Probable XI:

India: Harmanpreet Kaur (Captain), Smriti Mandhana (vice-captain), Shafali Verma, Taniya Bhatia (wicket-keeper), Deepti Sharma, Sneh Rana, Pooja Vastrakar, Renuka Thakur, Jemimah Rodrigues, Radha Yadav, Meghna Singh

England: Natalie Sciver (Captain), Danielle Wyatt, Sophia Dunkley, Alice Capsey, Amy Jones (wicket-keeper), Maia Bouchier, Katherine Brunt, Sophie Ecclestone, Freya Kemp, Issy Wong, Sarah Glenn.

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England Women vs India WomenWomen's Twenty20 Commonwealth Games, 2022India WomenEngland WomenHarmanpreet KaurShafali VermaKatherine BruntSophie EcclestoneRadha YadavAlice Capsey

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