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India vs Australia Women’s T20 series | Focus on lesser lights too in run-up to T20 World Cup

Skippers Healy and Harmanpreet (right) with the trophy ahead of the T20I series.
| Photo Credit: PTI

Australia rules women’s cricket. It holds both World Cups. India has given the Aussies some strong fight in the shortest format of late. The two sides come face to face yet again, as the T20I series opens at the D.Y. Patil Stadium on Friday.

With the T20 World Cup in South Africa just a couple of months away, the significance of the five-match series — the last three games will be played at Mumbai’s Brabourne Stadium — cannot be overstated. Both teams would be keen to try out combinations and see how the less experienced players fare.

By naming leg-spinning all-rounder Devika Vaidya — her last ODI was in 2018 and the only T20I in 2014 — and the uncapped left-arm seamer Anjali Sarvani in the squad, the selectors have indicated that they are looking at different options. Both the players earned their places with their fine show at the Senior Women’s T20 Challenger at Raipur late last month.

The limelight would of course be more on the likes of India’s main batters like Smriti Mandhana, captain Harmanpreet Kaur and Shafali Verma. As for bowling, seamer Renuka Singh, the No. 3 in the ICC ranking for T20I, and spinner Deepti Sharma have been in good nick.

In the absence of Meg Lanning, and the recently-retired Rachael Haynes, Australia’s batting may look a bit different, but it is still formidable, boasting the likes of Ellyse Perry and Alyssa Healy, who is making her captaincy debut. The visitors have a fine pace battery that includes Megan Schutt, Nicola Carey and Darcy Brown.

Match starts at 7 p.m.

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