After the embarrassing ICC Championship series loss against Australia earlier this year, India is set to play their third ICC Championship series against Sri Lanka. The series comprises 3 ODIs and 5 T20Is which will begin from September 11. India is currently at the 6th position in the points table. They won their first series against South Africa by 2-1 but lost to Australia by 3-0. 5 T20I series will help both the team to prepare for the T20 World Cup later this year.
Prior to the series against Sri Lanka, here is the team preview:
Smriti Mandhana is one of the key players for India. The left-handed opener has been in a formidable form throughout the year. Her consistency with the bat will help India to a good start. Her maiden Super League went on a good note with the score of 421 in 9 innings with the strike rate of 174.69. Another player who can play a pivotal role is T20 captain Harmanpreet Kaur. Her stormy 171* in the semi-final of ICC Women’s World Cup last year is one of the memorable innings of Women’s Cricket till date. Along with her hard-hitting ability, her offbreak bowling too is helpful for the team. She has the ability to snatch the game away from the opponent.
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Another key player is none other than ODI captain Mithali Raj. Most experienced player of the team has the ability to anchor the innings till the end with great perfection. Mithali Raj averages 154.33 in 19 ODI innings vs Sri Lanka. The highest average by any man or woman who has batted 10+ times vs a single ODI opponent. She can be a great threat to the opponent.
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The only leg break bowler in the squad, Poonam Yadav is one of the most important bowlers of India right now. She has been in a stupendous form throughout the year. She has taken three 4-for this year against South Africa, England and Bangladesh. Currently, in the career-best ranking (No. 2) in T20 format, Yadav is a big hurdle for Sri Lanka’s win.
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India has strengths in batting, bowling and fielding as well. They have a strong batting line up in the form of the opener Smriti Mandhana, middle order batters Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur and Veda Krishnamurthy. They have the ability to chase huge totals with ease as well as to set them.
With this solid batting line up, India has a strong bowling side too. Pace spearhead Jhulan Goswami and the spin troika – Ekta Bisht, Poonam Yadav and Rajeshwari Gayakwad can take early wickets as well as keep the opponents under pressure by giving dot balls. They have the ability to restrict their opponent in a below par score.
Along with the batting and bowling, India has improved a lot in their fielding section too. Youngster Jemimah Rodrigues, Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy are some of the players whom we have seen doing wonders on the field by their fielding.
Although India has a strong batting line up, the middle-order is not in form. They are still not consistent with the bat. If the openers fail to give a good start to the team, then middle-order should take the responsibility. But the collapse in the middle order is the biggest concern for India.
India has a strong dominance over Sri Lanka. They have won 24 ODIs out of 26 which they have played between 2000-2017.
This series is going to be very important for India as they will try to earn some valuable points for the ICC Championship (2017-20). Along with this, T20 series will help India to gain some momentum for the T20 World Cup after the loss of Asia Cup.