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June 17, 2009
Match factsThursday June 18
Big PictureThere's a certain irony to the semi-final line-up in the women's World Twenty20 - all four teams have gone further than their male compatriots in the equivalent event. That's because this tournament, unlike the men's, has gone entirely according to conventional rankings. Nonetheless, it gives these teams the added incentive of being sole representatives of their countries at the World Cup - and, for New Zealand and India, a chance to get the sort of central contracts that have greatly benefited their counterparts in England and Australia.
This is the second World Cup for women in three months - following the 50-over event in Australia - but no one can say there is any fatigue or overkill. In fact the players would welcome it, especially India who went into the tournament having played only two Twenty20s.
Looking at this match, New Zealand are better-placed, having won all their group games, including the one against potential finalists Australia. India will know that going into the semis having beaten only the minnows, and losing to England by ten wickets, is not ideal preparation but Twenty20 as a format does not depend much on momentum.
The last time these two teams met was in the World Cup in Australia, where New Zealand beat India by five wickets. Since then New Zealand have lost their long-standing captain Haidee Tiffen, who announced her retirement soon after New Zealand lost the 50-over title to England. However the in-form players from that World Cup - hard-hitting allrounder Suzie Bates and offspinner Lucy Doolan - have had success in England as well.
India added a few more players to their Twenty20 squad but again it's the ones who toured Australia who have done well, especially legspinner Priyanka Roy.
Form guide(last five completed matches, most recent first)
New Zealand WWWLL
Watch out for...
Mithali Raj: India's leading run-scorer in the tournament so far scored a 22-ball 32 in a must-win game against Sri Lanka and is peaking just at the right time. Before the start of the World Twenty20, Raj had said batsmen needed some "surprise" shots to go with orthodox strokes and had come prepared with back-up plans since the format was so short. So New Zealand better watch out for those.
Priyanka Roy: The 21-year old spinner was India's leading wicket-taker in Australia with 12 wickets at an average of 14 from seven games. And she improved on that here with a record 5 for 16 against Pakistan. Only New Zealand's Amy Sattherthwaite has done better, with 6 for 17.
Suzie Bates: The tournament's leading run-scorer is tailor-made for the Twenty20 format, as those who watched her battering of Pakistan in Australia will testify. She scored 168 off 105 balls, including 19 fours and six sixes in an ODI record second-wicket stand.
India are likely to stick to the XI that beat Sri Lanka, Poonam Raut opening with Anjum Chopra and Raj coming at No. 3.
1 Poonam Raut, 2 Anjum Chopra, 3 Mithali Raj, 4 Rumeli Dhar, 5 Sulakshana Naik (wk), 6 Reema Malhotra, 7 Amita Sharma, 8 Harmanpreet Kaur, 9 Priyanka Roy, 10 Jhulan Goswami, 11 Gouher Sultana.
New Zealand may replace left-arm spinner Saskia Bullen with the more experienced right-arm medium-pace bowler Sophie Devine, who missed the previous game against South Africa.
1 Lucy Doolan, 2 Suzie Bates, 3 Aimee Watkins, 4 Amy Satterthwaite (capt), 5 Nicola Browne, 6 Sara McGlashan, 7 Sophie Devine, 8 Rachel Priest (wk), 9 Kate Pulford, 10 Sian Ruck, 11 Sarah Tsukigawa.
Stats and Trivia
A look back at five high-profile exhibition matches