India women's team are set to take on Bangaldesh Women in their opening fixture of the ICC Women's World T20 2016 Tuesday at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. Going by their recent form, the Mithali Raj-led side look the firm favourites to seal a win in the match.
The Women in Blue have been quite impressive so far in 2016. After winning a three match T20 series win against Australia Women -- who have been the Women's World T20 champions on three occasions -- in January, they recorded a 3-0 sweep against Sri Lanka in their T20I series in February.
In the warmup matches ahead of the ICC World T20, India Women got comfortable wins over Ireland and Sri Lanka.
Apart from Mithali and Jhulan Goswami, the India Women's squad is relatively younger; the average age of the present team being 23.73 years, according to the BCCI. The likes of 19-year-old Smriti Mandhana, 27-year-old Harmanpreet Kaur and 23-year-old Anuja Patil have made the squad look all the more fresh.
"Earlier I led a team where most players were my age and as experienced as me. I didn't have to tell them what they were expected to do. We were all at the same level of maturity," India Women skipper Mithali Raj told BCCI.tv.
"With this team I sometimes have to get out of my comfort zone to see if they are feeling down, and pep them up," the 33-year-old added.
Mithali, who is also the highest run-getter for India Women in Women's T20, heaped praise on southpaw Smriti Mandhana, whose stunning display with the bat ahead of the tournament, has earned plaudits.
Smriti scored 42 runs (4x5, 6x1) off 28 balls to guide India the win over Bangladesh in their last fixture. Prior to that, the 19-year-old remained the star of the match for India Women against Ireland Women, as she hit 73 (4x10, 6x1) off 52 balls to play a vital role for her team.
"She [Smriti] is in the form of her life and now she must see to it that she makes the most of it," Mithali continued. "Once you hit form like that, no matter how young you are, the team will start depending on you and expect you to take more responsibility. That responsibility should not deter her from playing her natural game."
The onus is on Bangladesh Women now to get something from the match. Leg spinner Rumana Ahmed was impressive as she helped the Bangladesh Women record an eight-wicket victory over Ireland Women in their warm-up game ahead of the competition.
And, Bangladesh Women skipper Jahanara Alam knows the importance of the team being at their top form against India Women.
"Our preparation has been good and we are very confident," Jahanara told the ICC Website.
As a team we believe nothing is impossible. We know India is one of the strongest teams in the competition and we just want to play good cricket, the result will take care of itself."
Where to watch live
India Women vs Bangladesh Women is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. IST (10 a.m. GMT, 6 a.m. EST), March 15.
Viewers in the US can tune into Willow TV for the broadcast of the game. Live streaming will be available on Willow TV Youtube.
The live scores can be found on the ICC match centre.