And it is that time of the World Cup, when one of the most awaited games is only ONE sleep away.
India vs England: A lopsided rivalry that is fueled by some riveting clashes in recent times!!!
If you are someone who has followed women's cricket to the absolute T, it is not surprising that England have dominated proceedings in the head-to-head encounters and won 13 out of the 20 games.
However, things have not been as the records suggest, especially in the last couple of years, as India have managed to get the better of the opposition in high-voltage events.
Semi-final of the ICC T20 World Cup 2020✅
Semi-final of the Commonwealth Games✅
Well, you name it, and the rejigged Indian side has been a thorn in England's pursuit of reaching the summit clash of a world event.
And to add a bit more spice to this exhilarating rivalry, the last time these two teams clashed at the Home of Cricket, it divided the cricketing world on the topic of the spirit of the game and the laws of the game.
In case if you're living under a rock and have no idea about the incident, Deepti Sharma ran out Charlie Dean at the non-striker's end in the last ODI to power India to a 3-0 win against England in their backyard.
With tempers flaring on the mode of the dismissal and the outcome of the game, it is ought to believe that the two sides will be keen to outclass the opposition and seal their place in the semi-final of the tournament.
There ain't any doubt that the two sides will go hard at one another, and it promises to be a blockbuster, which could also potentially decide the team that will not face Australia in the semi-final.
Things to watch out for
After not attracting a bid in the auction of the inaugural edition of the Women's Premier League, Danni Wyatt will be hurting for sure and would be keen to showcase her class in this crucial game.
The right-handed batter is the leading run-scorer for the England team with 646 runs in 27 innings at an average of 26.91 since the T20 World Cup Down Under, and the onus of the side would rely heavily on her in this clash.
The 31-year-old also enjoys a sublime record against the Women in Blue as she has smashed 543 runs in 19 innings at an average of 31.94, the best for her against any opposition.
One of the highlights for the Indian team in their first two wins against Pakistan and West Indies has been the performance of Richa Ghosh in the middle order.
The wicket-keeper batter has been unbeaten on both occasions in a run chase to guide India over the line unscathed from tricky situations. While the right-handed batter has not been troubled much in this mega event, her record against off-spinners in the shortest format will prompt Heather Knight to introduce Charlie Dean early in the innings.
The 19-year-old has been dismissed on six occasions in 16 innings and has an average of 11 against them, the worst for her against a bowling type.
Pitch and conditions
In the first two games of the World Cup played at this venue, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka scored 107 and 112 runs, respectively, against the reigning champions Australia. While the mighty Australians recorded wins, they also struggled a tad bit as run scoring was challenging against the tweakers.
Needless to say, the wicket in Port Elizabeth is on the slower side, and the spinners are set to have a significant impact on the outcome of the game.
Well, hold on, and before you jump to any conclusions on the surface and the conditions looking more Asian, England have some high-quality spinners in their ranks.
Sophie Ecclestone, with her left-arm spin, along with Sarah Glenn and Charlie Dean, form a formidable spin trio for the England side and have the ability to choke the Indian batting unit.
The Women in Blue, on the other hand, will bank on their four spinners to wreak havoc in conditions more suitable for their style of play.
Shafali Verma and Katherine Brunt, it is the battle to savour for the ages, and there ain't any doubt that England would unleash a barrage of short-pitched deliveries against the speedster.
The right-handed batter has been dismissed twice in six innings and has an average of 15 against the veteran pacer and will be keen to rattle the Indian side with early jolts.
The key wicket for the England side will be the Indian skipper, Harmanpreet Kaur, early in the innings. The right-handed batter is known to be susceptible to spinners taking the ball away from her, and Heather Knight would be keen to introduce her leg spinner, Sarah Glenn, once she comes out to bat.
The 33-year-old has been dismissed four times in eight innings against Glenn, the second-most times a bowler has got her wicket in the shortest format.
England's fastest half-centurion in women's T20I, Alice Capsey, will be the prized wicket for the Indian side in this clash. The right-handed batter faced four deliveries against leg spinners and has been dismissed twice. Harmanpreet Kaur should fancy introducing Devika Vaidya early into the attack and make optimum use of her weakness against the bowling type.
With Devika Vaidya offering more with her leg-spin abilities and solidarity with the bat lower down the order, the Indian team would back her to retain her place in this crunch encounter.
Predicted India XI: Harmanpreet Kaur (Captain), Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Smriti Mandhana, Devika Vaidya, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh (wk), Pooja Vastrakar, Renuka Singh, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Radha Yadav
Heather Knight-led outfit have produced two dominant performances against West Indies and Ireland to be one of the firm favourites to lift the coveted trophy. The England side will look to continue with the same XI in this high-voltage clash.
Predicted England XI: Sophia Dunkley, Danielle Wyatt, Alice Capsey, Natalie Sciver, Heather Knight (Captain), Amy Jones (wk), Katherine Brunt, Sophie Ecclestone, Charlie Dean, Sarah Glenn, Lauren Bell