Pakistan vs India: Will India continue their unbeaten run or can Pakistan put one past neighbours?
Pakistan (L) and India (R) will start their campaign on March 6 © Getty Images
Three matches done and the World Cup 2022 is already off to a great start. And on the first Sunday (March 6) of the tournament, there’s another big match, with India taking on their neighbours Pakistan at the Bay Oval in Tauranga.
While the men’s matches between these sides are always built up as an even contest, it has been one-way traffic as far as women’s cricket is concerned, with India taking the spoils all the ten times they faced Pakistan previously.
But come Sunday, that could change, for Pakistan have shown signs of improvement; to the point that they can spoil the party for a few sides in the World Cup as they look for their first knock-out qualification in an ICC event.
What’s at stake:
Because of the league format, one loss wouldn’t put a dampener on either side’s chances to qualify for the semi-finals. But still, both the teams would like to start off their World Cup campaign well. For India, it is imperative that they show the world that the win in the final ODI was a sign of a turnaround after a difficult 12 months in the international arena. They also started their World Cup campaign with a couple of wins in warm-up matches. And purely from a cricketing perspective, they will be happy that they are facing Pakistan in their opening fixture because of the record they possess against them.
Pakistan, on the other hand, would want to show the world that they are no longer the pushovers from the 2017 edition, where they lost all their seven matches to finish at the bottom of the table. The signs are good as they stunned the hosts New Zealand in the warm-up fixture before getting the better of Bangladesh in a thriller in the second warm-up game.
ALSO READ: There will always be hype around India vs. Pakistan games but we need to focus: Yastika Bhatia
What they said:
“I think getting into the World Cup, it's important that all of us have to get in with a clean slate from the past series or the warm up games - all we can take is confidence and how you negotiate the conditions in the middle, how you play according to situation is just very important. And we've been seeing that even in today's game. So I'm sure that Shafali (Verma) being a very talented kid, she understands her own game and she will come through,”
- Mithali Raj on concerns about Shafali Verma’s form.
“We have improved as a fast bowling unit, you know, especially Diana (Baig) and Fatima Sana has come far, and I think we have gelled together. It's just that we have the right combination in our bowling that all the bowlers complement each other.”
- Bismah Maroof on how their fast bowling attack has evolved since the World Cup 2017.
Players to watch out for:
Harmanpreet Kaur: India’s vice-captain had a difficult time coming into the New Zealand series, having battled indifferent form, injury issues and illness. And once she failed in the first three matches, questions were raised from the outside about her place in the side. But it seems like the allrounder has turned a corner after sitting out from the fourth ODI against the hosts. Since then, Kaur has scored two match-winning knocks of 63 (in the final ODI against New Zealand) and 104 (in the warm-up fixture against South Africa) and looks primed for yet another good World Cup to back up her efforts from the previous edition.
Fatima Sana: 21-year-old Fatima Sana aspires to be the fastest bowler in the world and she already had a great start to her international cricket with some impressive numbers. Fellow players like Aliya Riaz and Nida Dar spoke highly of the young allrounder when they talked to Women’s CricZone ahead of the World Cup.
The ICC Emerging Cricketer of the Year 2021 didn’t disappoint those who rate her highly and took six wickets from the two warm-up fixtures, while also contributing with some handy runs in the Bangladesh game. Sana will lead the Pakistan attack in the years to come, but as of now, they will be hoping for a good show from her at the World Cup.
ALSO READ: I aspire to be the fastest bowler in the world: Fatima Sana
Head to head: Played 10 matches, India 10 – 0 Pakistan
- Harmanpreet Kaur hasn't had the greatest of times when she has faced Pakistan in the past. She has scored only 50 runs from four matches against them.
- Nida Dar and Nain Abidi are the only two Pakistan players to score an ODI fifty against India. Dar’s 68 came in Cuttack during the World Cup 2013 seventh place play-off.
India: Mithali Raj (c), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Deepti Sharma, Harmanpreet Kaur, Richa Ghosh (wk), Sneh Rana, Pooja Vastrakar, Jhulan Goswami, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Meghna Singh
Pakistan: Bismah Maroof (c), Nahida Khan, Muneeba Ali (wk), Javeria Khan, Omaima Sohail, Aliya Riaz, Nida Dar, Fatima Sana, Diana Baig, Anam Amin, Nashra Sundhu