Pressure mounts on the Edwards-led England team
India’s M. Thirush Kamini and Sri Lanka’s Eshani Kaushalya Lokusooriya have lit up the ICC Women’s World Cup with thundering knocks at the Brabourne Stadium on back-to-back days. Both won the Player-of-the-Match awards and all of a sudden they have won many admirers and have rightfully been accorded the star status.
The 22-year-old left-hander Thirush Kamini exploded into action to make a memorable century after a three-year lay off because of an injury and opened with a record 175 partnership against England with Punam Raut. And the 28-year right hander Eshani is a new ball operator who went on a leather hunt notwithstanding a crisis that had beset her team after the openers had raised 103 for the first wicket against the defending champion on Friday. Without doubt these two fearless women have played their part to give a big boost to the ICC event in the early days of the tournament.
While more such positives would keep women’s cricket in an upbeat mood and draw bigger support from the public, the outcome of the match between England and Sri Lanka on Friday has mounted pressure on the Charlotte Edwards-led team that was expected to crush the Lankans. Only the top three teams from the two groups can advance to the Super League and England has to put it across India in the day match at the Brabourne Stadium on Sunday.
Playing her fifth World Cup, the 34-year-old Charlotte acknowledged the smart cricket dished out by the Lankans especially its openers — Chamari Atapattu and Yasoda Mendis and thereafter by Eshani, but she said England would not press the panic button.
“We will pick ourselves up. We have got a big game against India. It’s not all over. There is no panic and we have got to dust ourselves down and come back. We are obviously disappointed, but what a game of cricket it was. We have to win against India, otherwise it would be very difficult. But you cannot take away a great effort from Sri Lanka. Congratulations to Sri Lanka. It played a fantastic game and we just were not good enough. If we had held our catches we might have won the game by 30 runs, but we paid for that,” said Charlotte.
A nagging hamstring kept star batsman Sarah Taylor out of the XI against Sri Lanka, but she is expected to bolster the batting against India. Sarah is most likely to feature in the line-up. Sarah has played eight one-day internationals in India, but at Chennai and Bangalore. She has played 71 matches, scored 2247 runs with four centuries and nine half centuries.
India’s captain Mithali Raj said England’s batting even without Sarah is strong, but it is heavily dependent on medium pacer Brunt (Katherine) to get breakthroughs. “They will be comfortable batting. The track is hard and like concrete. The pitch has behaved beautifully so far in both matches. There’s nothing to gain by advantage in a day or day/night match. A lot of credit should go to the ground staff at the CCI. There will be a bit of help for the seamers though in the morning, but the batter has to make a mistake to get out. England will field a strong side but we are very well prepared,” said Mithali before her team’s practice session here on Saturday.
The teams (from):
India: Mithali Raj (captain), Harmanpreet Kaur (vice-captain), Ekta Bisht, Amita Dass, Jhulan Goswami, Karuna Jain, Reema Malhotra, Mona Meshram, M. Thirush Kamini, Sulakshana Naik, Niranjan Nagarajan, Rasnara Parwin, Punam Raut, Shubh Lakshmi Sharma and Gouher Sultana.
England: Charlotte Edwards (captain), Jenny Gunn (vice-captain), Tammy Beaumont, Arran Brindle, Katherine Brunt, Holly Colvin, Georgia Elwiss, Lydia Greenway, Danielle Hazell, Amy Jones, Heather Knight, Laura Marsh, Anya Shrubsole, Sarah Taylor and Danielle Wyatt.
Keywords: ICC Women’s World Cup