With a semifinal berth already sealed, India will look to continue experimenting with their playing XI when they take on a plucky Thailand in the Women’s Asia Cup here on Monday.
India have fielded a different playing XI in all their matches in the tournament so far in order to give the fringe players time in the middle ahead of the T20 World Cup next year.
The batting order has also been continuously rejigged with skipper Harmanpreet Kaur dropping down to number seven against Pakistan. And while the move didn’t work as the new-look middle order crumbled under pressure, the team has continued to give game time to its fringe players.
However, after an underwhelming display that led to their first loss in six years to arch-rivals Pakistan, the ‘Women in Blue’ came back strongly in all three departments to thrash defending champions and host Bangladesh.
India are performing as a cohesive unit, the bowling department has been consistent all throughout the tournament while the batters have also played their part.
The biggest positive will be the flamboyant Shafali Verma’s return to form. The young opener struck a much-needed fifty in the previous match which would have done wonders to her confidence.
Smriti Mandhana too got some runs under her belt as the tournament enters the business end.
Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur was rested in the last match due to a niggle and it remains to be seen if she makes a comeback for the team’s last group game.
Jemimah Rodirgues, who is returning from injury, is having a stellar tournament and is the leading run scorer.
Deepti Sharma has shone with both bat and ball. The spin all-rounder is the leading wicket-taker alongside Rumana Ahmed of Bangladesh and Thailand’s T Putthawong. All three have eight scalps each.
Richa Ghosh has made a strong case for her inclusion in the T20 squad and the young wicketkeeper will look to continue in the same vein.
Thailand, on the other hand, are on a roll, having won their last three games, including a surprise win against Pakistan.
They are currently fourth in the table with six points. They would be eager to make the final push for that last semifinal spot.
They have hosts Bangaldesh right on their tails with four points and a game in hand.
India, who lead the table with eight points, will be wary of the Thai team which is capable of springing a surprise.
Last time these two sides met, India registered a comfortable win at the Asia Cup in 2018.
India: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana, Deepti Sharma, Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Sabbineni Meghana, Richa Ghosh (wk), Sneh Rana, Dayalan Hemalatha, Meghna Singh, Renuka Thakur, Pooja Vastrakar, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Radha Yadav and K.P. Navgire.
Thailand: Naruemol Chaiwai (c), Nattaya Boochatham, Natthakan Chantham, Sunida Chaturongrattana, Onnicha Kamchomphu, Suwanan Khiaoto, Nannapat Koncharoenkai, Suleeporn Laomi, Banthida Leephatthana, Phannita Maya, Nanthita Boonsukham, Thipatcha Putthawong, Chanida Sutthiruang, Aphisara Suwanchonrathi and Sornnarin Tippoch.
Match starts 1 p.m. IST.