IND-W vs SL-W, 1st ODI: Harmanpreet-led India Women aim winning start against Sri Lanka
IND-W vs SL-W, 1st ODI Preview: Harmanpreet Kaur-led Team India will look to start the three-match ODI series on a winning note as they take on Sri Lanka Women in the first ODI at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on Friday. The matches will come under the ICC World Championship matches.
Hvaing won the three-match T20I series 2-1, India women will look for a repeat of the performance but face a major challenge. It will be the first time that the team will play without veteran and former India captain Mithali Raj, who announced her retirement from international cricket earlier this month. The team will also miss the services of legendary fast bowler Jhulan Goswami, who is nursing an injury.
"It is new journey for me also," Kaur, who was handed the ODI captaincy after Mithali retired, said at the pre-match press conference.
"My main motive is to improve our fitness and fielding. These are the two areas where I personally want the team to do well in," she added.
The batters struggled on the slow track at Dambulla, unable to breach the 140-run mark in all three T20Is and the likes of Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma would hope for a better and consistent show in the 50-over format.
The last time India played a 50-over match was during the World Cup in March, when they failed to qualify for the semifinals. The Indian batting unit has failed to fire as a group back then and would be eager to rectify its weaknesses.
Kaur herself has been in good touch. After finishing as the highest run-getter for her side in the T20 series, it will augur well for India if the skipper can continue her top form alongside all-rounder Pooja Vastrakar.
Young wicketkeeper Richa Gosh, who shone in the series against New Zealand earlier this year, will be on the lookout for a good show even though team management used Yastika Bhatia as a stop-gap keeper in one of the T20I games.
With the seasoned Jhulan not in the side, the young and relatively inexperienced fast bowling unit comprising Vastrakar, Simran Bahadur, Meghna Singh and Renuka Singh will be tested by the Lankan batting line-up headlined by Chamari Athapaththu.
The spinners have been largely on the mark but struggled in the third game. Poonam Yadav and Rajeshwari Gayakwad will have their task cut out in the longer format. Kaur and Harleen Doel, with her leg breaks, too can pitch in with some useful overs.
The tourists will also have to work on their fielding. They have been sloppy throughout the T20 series, missing a slew of runouts and also dropping catches.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, will be keen to keep the winning momentum going after picking a conciliatory victory in the last T20I.
The hosts performed as a cohesive unit with all department firing. But the batters need to lift their game.
On the bowling front, the spin duo of Inoka Ranaweera and Oshadi Ranasinghe have been the stand-out players, doing most of the heavy lifting.
Sri Lanka lost the ODI series against Pakistan earlier this month and would be hoping to avoid a second consecutive series loss in the format.
India: Harmanpreet Kaur (C), Smriti Mandhana (VC), Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia (wk), S Meghana, Deepti Sharma, Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Simran Bahadur, Richa Ghosh (wk), Pooja Vastrakar, Meghna Singh, Renuka Singh, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Harleen Deol.
Sri Lanka: Chamari Athapaththu (c), Nilakshi de Silva, Kavisha Dilhari, Vishmi Gunaratne, Ama Kanchana, Hansima Karunaratne, Achini Kulasuriya, Sugandika Kumari, Harshitha Samarawickrama, Hasini Perera, Udeshika Prabodhani, Oshadi Ranasinghe Inoka Ranaweera, Sathya Sandeepani, Anushka Sanjeewani, Malsha Shehani,Tharika Sewwandi.
Match starts 10am IST.