Women's World Cup 2013 February 4, 2013

India not taking SL lightly in wide open group


Sri Lanka have never beaten India in women's cricket. They hadn't beaten defending champions England either, until three days ago. No wonder India captain Mithali Raj was wary of Sri Lanka going into their final group game of the tournament, especially given the flat pitch at Brabourne Stadium, which has produced big totals in all but one of six innings so far.

"Next game is a do-or-die game for us and we are not going to take Sri Lanka lightly," Raj said. "On such a wicket, especially, it could be anybody's game and they have done well against England."

Raj said India's unbeaten record against Sri Lanka wouldn't make any difference to their approach. "This is a World Cup. We definitely don't look down upon any team as such. So we are going to take them as another opponent that we need to win against to qualify for the Super Six. That's our aim now."

All four teams in Group A have a victory each. While the two sides that win on Tuesday - England play West Indies in Mumbai as well - will proceed to the Super Six, the final spot will go to the losing team with the better net run-rate. Sri Lanka's NRR nose-dived after their heavy defeat to West Indies, but their captain Shashikala Siriwardene was hoping to beat India so that her side wouldn't have to depend on the other game's result. Siriwardene also felt India's batsmen wouldn't be as big a headache as Stefanie Taylor and Co proved to be, given they don't have the powerful hitters West Indies did.

In all four games played so far in Mumbai, teams have bowled after winning the toss but of those sides, only Sri Lanka ended up victorious, that too, off the last ball against England. India lost to England after asking them to bat, but Raj said she would still choose to field, if given a fresh pitch.

Tuesday's game between India and Sri Lanka will be played under lights, just like the tournament opener between India and West Indies. The India bowlers got consistent movement, in the air and off the pitch, and the West Indians found batting difficult in the evening.

England captain Charlotte Edwards pointed out that difference between morning and afternoon starts, but Raj was clear what she would do.

"I will [have to] see if we are getting a fresh wicket. If it is the same condition I will still opt to field because the way Jhulan [Goswami] bowled in the first spell [against England], she was brilliant. So I wouldn't want any other pacer to get that kind of an edge so I will still go for fielding if we win the toss."

India had stuck early against England, but following a steady century partnership between Edwards and Sarah Taylor, they conceded too many runs in the latter half of the innings. Raj was hopeful of avoiding a repeat of that against Sri Lanka. "The kind of start the bowlers have given us, getting us the first breakthrough, I only hope that we don't give away too many runs in the Powerplay or in the last session.

"That's where I guess we were a little lost [against England] so probably that wouldn't be happening in the next game. In the last session we seemed a little lost in terms of bowling and [giving away] few boundaries. I guess we will try and minimise the boundaries."

To achieve that, India could take a look at the way England have tackled the benign conditions. "I think we have adapted well," Edwards said. "It is important that we bowl wicket-to-wicket stuff. That is something we have tried to talk about. Any width on these wickets is just a free hit."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Eshan on February 5, 2013, 11:56 GMT

    Dont ever underestimate Sri Lankans....Its the biggest mistake any Indian could make. this applies to any sport or any industry

  • Manesh on February 5, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    @BDforever. BD do not have any team for women cricket and you are still eager to comment on India. Its sure that even Indian women can beat BD men team.lol.

  • paul on February 5, 2013, 8:35 GMT

    @ JohnSilva Lets get it right Raj said that England are a weak bowling attack with only one good bowler, that's why she's wrong and out of order. Just to make her look even more ridiculous and all those people on here saying she was correct, England have smashed WI out for 101 and guess what Brunt wasn't the best bowler on show. Some people on here seem to be spouting off about things they know nothing about.

  • Sugath on February 5, 2013, 8:33 GMT

    I think, the way forward for Lanka is not to delve too much in to either the game against England or one against West Indies. Too much bullishness caused the misery in the second game. Also should not worry too much about Goswamy because the rest are not that great. Playing Goswamy do not stay rooted to the crease. If Lanka win toss they must bat as in the evening given the heavy atmosphere in Mumbai ball is likely to swing.

  • vishwas on February 5, 2013, 7:16 GMT

    @BDforever yeah you are right indian women are better than bangldesh MEN... from next time you should think of playing with indian women cricket to to get your self safe from loosing your cricket status......

  • Asir on February 5, 2013, 4:04 GMT

    India should play their women's team instead of their men's team whenever their men's team has to face strong nations. Anyway I don't expect any difference between results lol

  • Suresh on February 5, 2013, 2:33 GMT

    No doubt about it, surely India will win today against SL and qualify for Super Sixes. Even they played well against England, but just few flaws made us to lose the match. Hope that won't happen again with SL.

  • V.L on February 4, 2013, 22:48 GMT

    @JG2704 He means that if SL lose Eng, WI , Ind qualify for super six and Eng will carry two wins into the next stage having beaten WI(assuming they beat WI) and Ind. However it would be folly to under-estimate the WI. Though Eng are favorites to win it, with the amount of firepower in WI batting line-up, they can spring an un-pleasant surprise for England.

  • John on February 4, 2013, 21:17 GMT

    I know this is late in the day , but does anyone know if there is any UK tv coverage of the Eng/WI game? I've looked at the Sky Sports schedule and it seems they're showing the India game but not the Eng game which seems really bizarre to me