There’s always a story, there’s always a narrative and that narrative begins as the Indian ladies navigate to the Caribbean Islands for 3 ODIs and 5 T20Is. Two tribes, one more time. Each in their turn, blessed and blighted by the weight of their history. The Women in blue are placed 3rd on the ICC Women’s Championship rankings while the Windies are struggling at the bottom of the points table. They are placed 7th.
The experienced duo of Shermaine Campbell and Chedean Nation will return to the squad, while Deandra Dottin one of the side’s batting mainstays will remain absent. Medium-pacers Aaliyah Alleyne and Shawnisha Hector also earned a call-ups. All-rounder Hayley Matthews, who is serving an eight-match ban due to disciplinary reasons, will miss the first two ODIs.
The last time India Women played a bilateral series in the Caribbean was in 2011-12. Seven years later, the Mithali Raj-led legion will embark on a trip to the Caribbean. The side will gleefully welcome the return of ace batter Smriti Mandhana. The elegant southpaw missed the fixtures against the Proteas due to a toe injury.
When: 1st November 2019, Friday
Where: Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound, Antigua
Time: 11:00 PM IST
2010 was the best year for batsmen at this venue. The scoring rate reached a high 5.7 in ODIs then. However, since 2017, the run-rate on this turf has dropped down a mediocre 4.7. The venue hosted 2 WODIs in 2019 and the run-rate has only managed to hover around the 4.5 per over mark. Teams batting first have won 10 of the 17 ODIs.
Right-arm leg breakers have been the trickiest to face on this square. The wristy tweakers have managed to dismiss a batter every 30 deliveries. A certain Poonam Yadav would prance around, wanting to fizzle those leggies in. The right-arm pacers have done the majority of the bowling here. They pick a wicket every 6 overs.
Stafanie Taylor will have to carry the responsibility of the batting order. The all-rounder averages 45 with the bat at home & her bowling credentials aren’t shabby either. Well, they are more than handy. 66 wickets in 47 matches at 17.62. Taylor is West Indies’ highest run-getter since 2018. The swashbuckling all-rounder has scored 533 runs in 15 ODIs at 44.41. Easily, the favourite to be picked as captain.
Looking for a game-changer from the blue corner? Look no further than Mithali Raj. Raj has piled up gargantuan numbers in the ODI format and she’ll be a force to be reckoned with. Against the Windies, Mithali averages 51.33 and in 2019, the world’s best batter has churned out 258 runs at 51.60. Whilst chasing, Mithali averages 64.82 and has remained unbeaten 37 times.
Afy Fletcher has been the shining light in a rather innocuous bowling set-up. In the ICC Women’s Championship, Fletcher is placed 4th with 26 wickets off 18 games. Since 2018, the leggie has dismissed 19 batters, the most by a West Indian bowler. At home, Fletcher operates at her absolute best. She’s picked 20 wickets in 14 games @ 21.77. She also manages to contain the batters for less than 4 runs per over.
Poonam Yadav is ranked 9th on the list of women bowlers for ODIs and has been instrumental in India’s emergence as one of the finest teams in the world. Since 2018, she’s picked 34 wickets - the most by any bowler. Yadav’s ability to take the pace off the ball and extract turn makes her a player to watch out. In games, the ladies in blue have won, Yadav has picked 55 wickets at 16.23. Her stock delivery - the one pitched right up, has fetched 30 wickets & on slow West Indian tracks, Yadav is bound to be a handful.
Suggested FanFight XI
Shemaine Campbell (wk), Mithali Raj (vc), Jemimah Rodrigues, Kyshona Knight, Poonam Raut, Harmanpreet Kaur, Stafanie Taylor, Deepti Sharma, Poonam Yadav (c), Jhulan Goswami and Afy Fletcher