Legendary India batter Mithali Raj believes the chances of winning the Women's T20 World Cup for the Harmanpreet Kaur-led side will be largely dependent on the form of the top order.
Cape Town, Feb 5: Legendary India batter Mithali Raj believes the chances of winning the Women's T20 World Cup for the Harmanpreet Kaur-led side will be largely dependent on the form of the top order.
"India's chances will be largely dependent on the top order. Smriti Mandhana is playing well and is a match winner. Harmanpreet Kaur has looked in good form too but we have to beat Australia and England you need others batters to come to the party," wrote Mithali in her column for the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Sunday.
India will open their Group B campaign in the Women's T20 World Cup against arch-rivals Pakistan on February 12 at Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town. Apart from Pakistan, they will also face 2009 champions England, 2016 winners West Indies, and Ireland in the group stage of the competition.
Mithali also felt that youngsters Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh, who were a member of the winning Indian team in U19 Women's T20 World Cup, should come good having played the tournament in South African conditions and that the bowlers will have to step up to the occasion.
"I hope Shafali Verma and Richa Ghosh also have a good run at the World Cup considering they have gained so much experience of the conditions in South Africa. The bowling will be tested and that is where we need to see an improvement."
"I am excited about some of the young players coming through and there is definitely some talent in the Under-19s team which I had the chance to see play at the inaugural ICC Under-19s Women's T20 World Cup."
Mithali opined that defending champions Australia, led by Meg Lanning, are hot favourites to complete a hat-trick of Women's T20 World Cup titles. But she also pointed out that India also has a habit of bringing out their best when facing Australia.
"Going into the tournament in South Africa, I think everyone would agree that Australia are the favourites, and deservedly so. I am expecting, tight, competitive matches. They are so difficult to beat because they bat deep and have an excellent batting line-up."