The three One Day Internationals make up the second series for both sides in the new round of the ICC Women’s Championship, counting for qualification towards the 2021 Women’s World Cup. Both sides sit on 4 points each after 3 matches–Australia winning the ODI leg of the Women’s Ashes 2-1 over England, and India defeating South Africa 2-1 last month.
Meg Lanning (capt), Rachael Haynes (vice-capt), Nicole Bolton, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy (wk), Jess Jonassen, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Belinda Vakarewa, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington
The big news: Meg Lanning is back. Rachael Haynes more than capably filled her shoes in both the batting order and captaincy during the Women’s Ashes, however the addition of Lanning certainly brings another level of firepower to the Australian line up. Haynes picks up the vice-captaincy following the retirement of Alex Blackwell. Young all-rounders Nicola Carey and Sophie Molineux are in line for a debut after stellar performances in the Women’s Big Bash League and replace Tahlia McGrath and Lauren Cheatle in the squad–both out injured.
Mithali Raj (capt), Harmanpreet Kaur (vice-capt), Smriti Mandhana, Punam Raut, Jemimah Rodrigues, Veda Krishnamurthy, Mona Meshram, Sushma Verma (wk), Ekta Bisht, Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Shikha Pandey, Sukanya Parida, Pooja Vastrakar, Deepti Sharma
Only one change for India following their successful tour of South Africa–Jhulan Goswami, fresh from becoming the first to take 200 Womens ODI wickets, has been ruled out with a heel injury and is replaced by Sukanya Parida.
The last time these sides met was the semi-final of the Women’s World Cup in 2017, a match completely dominated by Harmanpreet Kaur. Her 171* off 115 balls was an innings of sublime brilliance and powered India to their memorable Final at Lords against England. Australia will be desperate to make amends for that loss, especially on the road in India–still considered the final frontier for Australian cricket sides.
Who to watch
An easy choice maybe, but after missing the whole Australian summer due to shoulder surgery Lanning will be focused on a successful return. While she had a successful World Cup, her last match was a duck in the semi-final against India, a memory that must still hurt.
Mandhana is establishing herself as the batting successor to Mithali Raj and Kaur and is coming off an ODI best of 135 against South Africa. While Raj has showed no signs of slowing down, she is surely entering the twilight of her celebrated career, and India will need Mandhana to continue to develop her consistency to match the flashes of brilliance.
What to expect
As has been the case in women’s cricket recently, expect spin to play a significant role.Australia will likely field a three-pronged spin line up with Ash Gardner, Jess Jonassen and Amanda Wellington, while India’s Poonam Yadav, Deepti Sharma and Rajeshwari Gayakwad all had successful tours of South Africa. Both sides possess fearsome batting line-ups, so whichever spin attack can best halt the scoring will likely come out on top. Australia also face the challenge of new conditions with the last match Australia having played in India being the final of the 2013 World Cup against the West Indies–Lanning, Haynes, Ellyse Perry and Megan Schutt being the only players left from that match.
This will be a close series–both sides coming off series wins and both having fairly settled line-ups. In home conditions I expect India to come home victorious in the first match, with Australia acclimatizing well and coming home strong to win the final two matches and clinch the series.
Who do you think will come out on top? Let us know in the comments below!