The India women cricket team get set to face Pakistan women in one of the most crucial matches of the ICC Women's World T20 2016. A win Saturday at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi can give a huge boost to Mithali Raj and co. in helping them progress to the knockout stages of the tournament.
The highlight of the day is the men's clash in the ICC World T20 2016 between MS Dhoni's India side and Shahid Afridi's Pakistan side. However prior to that, all eyes will be on the women's match, which can turn out to be a perfect curtain-raiser to the mega clash this evening at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata.
"Any India-Pakistan match always generates big pressure. Even the men's cricket team are playing on the same day as the women are. It's a big game, but for me and the team, Pakistan is one more opponent to win against so we can progress to the group stage," India women's skipper Mithali Raj said in a video ahead of the game.
The Indian eves showed that they can progress all the way to their first World T20 title after they outclassed Bangladesh women in their opening game of the competition, Tuesday. Inspired by an impressive all-round performance from 27-year-old Harmanpreet Kaur, the Mithali Raj-led side got past their opponents by a whopping 72 runs.
"Since we won the first game convincingly, the girls are very confident getting into the second game. We are not going to change anything [the mindset with which we want to approach the match] and going into the game with the same kind of feeling, confidence and preparation. Most of us are prepared," Mithali added.
Going by their recent form, Pakistan women are under a bit of pressure. The Sana Mir-led side narrowly lost to West Indies in their opening game of the competition. The Caribbean side won by just four runs.
The batting lineup of Pakistan looks a bit fragile as of now, with batsman Javeria Khan being ruled out for the entire competition owing to an injury. But the same cannot be said of the bowlers. If the Pakistan men's cricket team have a lethal bowling weapon in Mohammad Amir, Pakistan women have a the extremely effective slow left-arm orthodox bowler Anam Amin. The 23-year-old took four wickets for 16 runs in four overs against West Indies in their last game.
"Coming into a World Cup, emotions are high. But definitely the intensity will be a little more [in this match] than any other game. I'm hoping for a bigger crowd as we as women cricketers don't get to play in front of large ones. Hoping the girls are ready," skipper Sana Mir was quoted by Cricbuzz ahead of the game.
"Every game is an important one. We are directly reduced to four [in the knockout stages] from ten [teams], so it's going to be very important and will be influential in how far we go in the World Cup. So it's a very important game for us and we're going to play it like that," the 30-year-old added.
The game may not have received that big a hype as the men's match between India and Pakistan in the ICC World T20 2016, but the intensity won't be any less.
Where to watch live
India Women vs Pakistan Women is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. IST (3 p.m. PKT, 10 a.m. GMT, 6 a.m. EST), March 19.
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.