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Indian eves begin T20 World Cup campaign against Australia

 SYDNEY, Feb 20: The Indian women’s cricket team will be aiming for much needed consistency when it opens its bid for an elusive ICC trophy with the T20 World Cup opener against defending champions Australia here on Friday.

Inconsistency has plagued India for a long time and a classic example was their performance in the recently held tri-series in Australia where they reached the final.

They won and lost a game against the more accomplished England and Australia before losing to the mighty hosts, who have won the T20 World Cup a record four times out of the six editions held so far.

India’ middle and lower-order needs to do a lot better than what it has been doing to beat the likes of Australia and England in the knock-out stages, something that has been acknowledged by star opener Smriti Mandhana.

The team needs to ensure that the frequent middle-order collapses are not repeated in the showpiece event.

The southpaw and 16-year-old Shafali Verma will have to get India off to a flying start more often than not in the competition.

Expectations are high from skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, who too has suffered from inconsistency and would like to correct that, beginning with the opener against Australia.

It remains to be seen if the other 16-year-old in the squad, Richa Ghosh, gets to play regularly as she made her international debut only in the final of the tri-series.

In the bowling department, they have heavily relied on spinners with not many quality pacers to choose from.

Shikha Pandey, who is often the lone pacer in the playing eleven full of spinners, has the crucial task of providing early breakthroughs.

“As an opening bowler, I’m obviously thinking about the early breakthroughs and that doesn’t change,” said Pandey, India’s fifth-highest wicket-taker in T20s.

Match starts: 1:30 pm IST. – PTI

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