Harmanpreet Kaur-led India has been unstoppable in the ongoing ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020, making it to their maiden finals on Thursday after their semi-final clash against England was washed out due to rain. Not the ideal way to make the summit clash, but they have deserved it. India has not lost a single match and is the only unbeaten side in the tournament. India will now face their biggest test when they lock horns against four-time champions and host Australia on Sunday in front of a packed house at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). Also Read - India to Start Australia Test Series on Dec 3 in Brisbane: Reports
Going into the finals, India may not have the crowd behind them as a divided house is expected, but they would have their noses in front. In the tournament opener played between the two sides, India got the better of defending champion and hot-favourites Australia by 17 runs, announcing themselves in the tournament. Since then there was no looking back for them. Also Read - Shane Warne Issues Warning to Cricket Australia, Expresses Concerns Over Spin Bowling Stocks Going Downhill in Down Under
Now with another clash to go, here are the three reasons why India will be the favourites: Also Read - 'As an Opening Batter, It’s so Exciting For Myself': Joe Burns
Slow Spinners Choke Opposition: Indian spinners Radha Yadav, Poonam Yadav and Rajeshwari Gayakwad have got the feel of the conditions. They have already won India matches in the tournament by defending low scores. The trick is, with big boundaries to clear, the Indian spinners are slowing it up which is making it difficult for the opposition batters to clear the ropes. The dominance of the Indian spinners in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup can be gauged from the fact that our spinners have picked 21 of the 33 wickets in four league games.
Biggies Harman, Mandhana Due: India opener Smriti Mandhana and skipper Harmanpret Kaur has not really made a big impact in the tournament. But they are big players and players with such reputation rise to the occasion, and if that is the case, the hosts should worry about the two swashbuckling batswomen. Kaur has scored merely 26 runs from four outings. Against Australia, she departed looking to clear the ropes. She was stumped off the bowling of Jess Jonassen and in the next three innings, she was caught. The 30-year-old needs to get her eye in a little before launching. Mandhana, on the other hand, has amassed a meagre 38 runs from three outings, she missed the game against Bangladesh due to fever. Both the stalwarts would look to get among the runs come the game that matters the most.
Sensational Shafali Shining: The 16-year-old cricketer been the story of the tournament thus far. She came into the tournament with a reputation of being a big-hitter, and she has lived up to the expectation. With Mandhana not in form, it was important young Shafali shouldered responsibility and got India off to a good start and she did just that. With 161 runs in four games at a staggering strike rate of 161, she zoomed 19 places in the latest ICC T20 rankings for batswomen to dethrone New Zealand’s, Suzie Bates. Verma is young and has the power and hence she backs herself to go aerial in the powerplay overs when the ball is hard, new and travels. She also has the ability to hit the slower bowlers and she showed that in the game against Bangladesh where she went after Salma Khatun and Nahida Akhtar. With one last game to go, India would hope she fires and helps India lift their maiden T20 WC crown.