The Women in Blue would be eager to bounce back from a series defeat in ODIs and put in a much better performance in the three-match T20I series, starting at the County Ground, Northampton on Friday (July 9). England currently lead the multi-format series 6-4 after a drawn Test and a 2-1 win in ODIs. The hosts are clearly stronger on paper but India too have some exciting talents.
The swashbuckling opener from Haryana is only 17 but is already one of the most feared batters in world cricket. The top-ranked T20I batter made her Test debut during the ongoing tour of England and slammed 96 and 63 in the two innings of the solitary Test. Since 2020, Shafali has smashed 395 runs in 13 T20Is at an average of 30.38 and a strike rate of 151.9. The right-hander has only one fifty to her name but is someone who constantly scores those quickfire 30s and 40s. Amongst batters who have scored at least 100 runs in T20Is since 2020, Shafali has the best strike rate. India's middle-order has struggled of late and a lot will depend on Shafali and her opening partner.
Talking about Shafali's opening partner, Mandhana looked impressive in every innings of the three-match ODI series but couldn't get that big score. The stylish left-hander crafted 78 in the first innings of the one-off Test and put on 167 runs with Shafali. In the ODI series, Mandhana managed scores of 10, 22 and 49 and would now be eager to stamp her authority in the T20I series. Mandhana (136.2) and Shafali (151.9) are the only two Indian batters who have a strike rate of more than 110 in T20Is since 2020. The two openers will have to be at their best if India want to challenge England.
The 32-year-old hasn't scored a single T20I fifty ever since that 103 against New Zealand in the first group game of the 2018 T20 World Cup. The Indian T20I captain has only managed 380 runs at a strike rate of 100.5 in her last 25 T20Is and has also struggled big time in the ongoing multi-format series. She was dismissed for scores of 4 and 8 in the Test match and then could only manage 36 runs in three ODIs. Apart from Harmanpreet, India don't really have a power-hitter in the middle-order. The onus will now be on the skipper to overcome her prolonged slump and provide a much-needed boost to the struggling batting line-up.
The wicketkeeper-batter from Jharkhand is yet to make her international debut but could be a perfect fit at No. 3 or 4. Jemimah Rodrigues hasn't been amongst runs, while Harleen Deol and Richa Ghosh haven't been consistent. Roy was the leading run-scorer in the Senior One-Day Trophy in 2020-21, smashing 456 runs in eight innings at an average of 76 and a strike rate of 86.52. Taniya Bhatia has donned the gloves in all four games so far but Roy could make it to the T20I side considering she is a better batter and striker.
The all-rounder has been phenomenal for India ever since making her comeback to international cricket. The 27-year-old picked up four wickets and crafted a match-saving 80* in the second innings of the Test against England last month. That was her first international match since February 2016. Rana also made a solid impact in the third and final ODI, taking the vital wicket of England opener Lauren Winfield-Hill in the first innings and then also playing a match-winning cameo of 24 off 22 balls at No. 7. "Sneh Rana is the find of this series. She is someone who can play in crunch situations, and that is what we need right now," said head coach Ramesh Powar after the ODI series.