The India women's team, ranked four in the world, will be expected to be at their best as they prepare to take on neighbours Bangladesh in their opening fixture of ICC Women's World T20 2016. The Mithali Raj-led side has never won the prestigious Twenty20 title in the last four editions, but this time they want to have a different result.
India Women won both their warm-up games of the competition this time and look impressive at the moment. While they won their first game against Ireland, Thursday, by 49 runs, they just edged past Asian powerhouses Sri Lanka Saturday in their second warm-up match of ICC Women's World T20 2016.
Opting to field after winning the toss, the India Women restricted Sri Lanka to 125/4 in 20 overs. Then, inspired by some powerful striking from Smriti Mandhana, they successfully chased the total in 17.5 overs to win the match by eight wickets.
Smriti scored 42 runs (4x5, 6x1) off 28 balls to guide India to another win. The 19-year-old Indian southpaw was the star of the match in the Ireland game as well, as she hit 73 (4x10, 6x1) off 52 balls to play a vital role for her team.
Apart from Smriti, the likes of Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur have the abilities to play good knocks on the day to get the job done for India. In the bowling department, Jhulan Goswami, the leading wicket-taker for India Women, will get good support from slow orthodox bowlers Ekta Bisht and Anuja Patil.
India go in as favourites in the match, but cannot write Bangladesh off. Leg spinner Rumana Ahmed remained impressive as she helped the Bangladesh Women record an eight-wicket victory over Ireland Women in their warm-up match Saturday. The 24-year-old bagged four wickets for 12 runs.
India registered a historic 2-1 win over world champions Australia in January and a 3-0 clean sweep against Sri Lanka in February to enter the competition in menacing form. Having said that, the batting lineup of the Women in Blue are not as formidable as compared to the batting line-up of the India Men's team.
"Although our batting line-up has not been really tested in this format the girls are very confident and I hope, as a captain, that whoever gets an opportunity in the middle makes the most of it," Mithali told the ICC website ahead of the competition.
Squads: India - Mithali Raj (C), Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Thirush Kamini, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Smriti Mandhana, Niranjana Nagarajan, Shikha Pandey, Anuja Patil, Deepti Sharma, VR Vanitha, Sushma Verma (wk), Poonam Yadav.
Bangladesh - Salma Khatun (C), Ayasha Rahman, Fahima Khatun, Fargana Hoque, Jahanara Alam, Khadija Tul Khubra, Lata Mondal, Nahida Akter, Nigar Sultana (wk), Panna Ghosh, Ritu Moni, Rumana Ahmed, Sanjida Islam, Shaila Sharmin, Sharmin Akhter.
India vs Bangladesh schedule:
Date: March 15, 2016.
Time: 3:30 p.m. IST (10 a.m. GMT, 6 a.m. EST).
Venue: Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru.
TV listings: India - Star Sports 2, Star Sports HD 2
UK: Sky Sports 2 HD
US: Willow TV