The other night at East London, only two overs were possible as rain had the ultimate say over the proceedings between India Women and South Africa women. But that game had no consequences as both the teams had already qualified to the final of the glorious tri-series.
In a larger context, however, India would want to utilize this opportunity to fine-tune their plans ahead of the Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa later this year. Who better than West Indies to put spanner in the works.
The picturesque Buffalo Park awaits these two teams, with the ground having been impacted in the past week by some rain. Monday too brings about a chance of rain but hopefully there is enough sunshine for the cricket to go through. Buffalo Park isn’t the most high-scoring venue, with an average of just 111 while teams batting first.
Three out of the four wins at this venue have been side’s defending a total, with South Africa women being the only team to win a clash here chasing. Ironically, it was against the West Indies women where South Africa scored 98 without the loss of any wicket. 18 wickets have been picked by spinners while the pacers have picked just the 16 wickets.
While you could go for the above team, you can also choose your team from Cricket.com’s Fantasy Research Centre. You can use this tool to build your team with the help of algorithms. Then, based on your preferences, the platform will guide you through creating the ideal fantasy XI.
For small leagues: Smriti Mandhana (captain), Deepti Sharma (vice-capt)
For grand leagues: Devika Vaidya (capt), Hayley Matthews (vice-capt)
Stats that matter
- Deepti Sharma is a vital pick, given her importance in this Indian playing XI. Since 2022, the all-rounder has slammed 403 runs in 20 innings at an average of 36.63 and a strike rate of 136.6. On top of that, the offspinner has also claimed 32 wickets in this time frame at a strike rate of 17.3. She scored 33 off 23 in the first match and also claimed three wickets.
- Smriti Mandhana is the one to watch out for, the elegant left-handed batter has smashed 81 runs in the ongoing tri-series, with an impressive 74* earlier in the series. Among batters with a minimum of 50 balls, the left-hander has the best strike-rate in the series, scoring at 126.6.
- India women’s batting has improved massively this year, and are the best batting unit among the three sides here in South Africa. And they will go up against West Indies, who have the worst batting unit in the competition, scoring runs at a run-rate of 5. India would look to create early inroads, and make it a one-sided contest.
Grand League punts
- Whilst she might not be in the best of forms, Devika Vaidya is perhaps one of the most vital cogs of this Indian line-up. On her return, the left-handed batter smashed a 32, taking the attack to one of the best bowling units in Women’s cricket – Australia. Alongside that, with spin ruling the roost here in South Africa, it is impossible to look beyond her leg-spin, that could cause a trouble or two to the struggling West Indies setup.
- West Indies might be struggling, and struggling badly but that doesn’t stop Hayley Matthews from scoring runs for fun. In this tri-series thus far, Matthews has scored 91 runs in 90 balls, with a staggering average of 45.5, including a high-score of 34*. Alongside that, she has also shown the ability to score boundaries at will, with 13 boundaries, the most in the tri-series for any batter. Expect her to come good against one of the world’s best bowling attack.
India - Yastika Bhatia (wk), Smriti Mandhana, Harleen Deol, Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Jemimah Rodrigues, Devika Vaidya, Deepti Sharma, Pooja Vastrakar, Radha Yadav, Shikha Pandey, Rajeshwari Gayakwad
West Indies - Hayley Matthews (c), Shemaine Campbelle, Shamilia Connell, Britney Cooper, Afy Fletcher, Shabika Gajnabi, Rashada Williams (wk), Chedean Nation, Kaysia Schultz, Shakera Selman, Karishma Ramharack.