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India women eye maiden ICC title

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Mount Maunganui, March 3

Skipper Mithali Raj will be eager to get her hands on a maiden title in what would be her last hurrah for India at the world stage, Heather Knight will hope to defend it while Meg Lanning seems primed to lead Australia to a ‘magnificent seventh’ when the ICC Women’s World Cup gets underway here tomorrow.

India good to go?

Runners-up in the last edition, India will be keen to go one step ahead and claim the title that has eluded them, especially skipper Mithali and veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami, who will be playing their last World Cup. India have chugged into the groove just in time. They avoided a whitewash against New Zealand for a shot of confidence, which was doubled up by wins in their warm-up games.

India’s matches

vs Pakistan, March 6
vs New Zealand, March 10
vs West Indies, March 12
vs England, March 16
vs Australia, March 19
vs Bangladesh, March 22
vs South Africa, March 27

The tournament, postponed by a year due to the pandemic, will be played across six venues with the ICC deciding that teams will stay in a ‘managed environment’ instead of stringent bio-bubbles.

The marquee event will be played in the league format, where all the eight teams will face each other once with the top-four sides qualifying for the semifinals.

India, who were the runners-up in the last edition and in 2005, open their campaign against Pakistan. Hosts New Zealand, who won the title in 2000, will take on West Indies in the tournament opener. Australia, the most successful side with six titles, will meet defending champions England, who have been crowned champions four times.

The month-long event will see young stars and veterans come together. While the likes of Mithali, Jhulan Goswami, Suzie Bates and Megan Schutt will look to add to their already glittering legacies, teenagers Shafali Verma, Richa Ghosh, Fran Jones and Darcie Brown will be eager to make one. —

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