Cricket fans across the globe are set to witness a third international encounter between India and Pakistan in less than a month's time.
While Sarfraz Ahmed's men avenged their group stage defeat with a title-sealing win against India in the final of last month's Champions Trophy, the action shifts to Women's World Cup 2017 as Mithali Raj's side and Sana Mir's unit gear up for a much-anticipated battle on Sunday, July 2.
A near-sellout crowd is expected a the Country Ground in Derby later on Sunday and India Women will start the tie as favourites. The Women in Blue have started the World Cup campaign on a high, winning their tournament opener against hosts England on the opening day and following it up with a comfortable seven wicket-win over West Indies on June 29.
On the other hand, Pakistan have a woeful start to their campaign, losing their first two matches. While South Africa women defeated them by three wickets, England women went on to post a tournament record score of 377 at Leicester on June 25 enroute to a 107-run win.
Upbeat India are well-placed to extend their perfect record over their neighbours in limited-overs cricket. In nine ODI meetings, Pakistan never managed to earn a win. However, it was Mir's side, who emerged victorious when the two teams last met — at the 2016 World Twenty20.
While revenge will be on the minds of Mithali and her girls, maintaining the winning momentum will be crucial to India's campaign. Having won 19 of their last 20 ODIs, the fourth-ranked team has to continue improving before thinking about the semi-final spot, according to the India skipper.
"We need to work on our catching, fielding is very crucial and it can win us matches .I am very pleased with the way the girls responded with crucial run-outs against the West Indies even though there were a couple of lapses in the field [drops]. We still have a couple of games more before we can look to the semi-finals," Mithali said, on the eve of the big match.
Smriti Mandhana's form will be a big boost to the Indian team as the lanky opener has amassed 196 runs in two matches, bagging the Player of the Match Award on both occasions. In-form skipper Mithali along with opener Punam Raut are key to India's chances of batting out Pakistan today.
Under-pressure Pakistan, on the other hand, have lost vice-captain Bismah Maroof for the remainder of the tournament due to a hand injury. In the absence of the dependable batter, the onus to produce runs will fall on openers Ayesha Zafar and Nahida Khan.
A lot is expected from in-form Indian spinners Deepti Sharma, Poonam Yadav and Harmanpreet Kaur, who troubled the West Indies with six wickets between them. The seniors in the Pakistan camp have to take responsibility and fend off the spin threat if they are to stand a chance of creating an upset.
India Women vs Pakistan Women: Schedule
Date: June 29
Time: 9:30 am GMT (3 pm IST)
Venue: County Ground, Derby
Where to watch live
INDIA: TV - Star Sports Network. Live stream - Hotstar
Pakistan: TV- PTV, Ten Sports. Live stream - PTV Sports Youtube Channel
UK: TV - Sky Sports. Live stream - Sky Go