Toss India Women chose to bat vs Australia Women

Harmanpreet Kaur called correctly and India opted to bat against T20 and 50-over World Cup-holders Australia in their CWG 2022 Group A opener at Edgbaston.

This is India’s first T20I outing at Edgbaston, with Harmanpreet calling it a “good wicket, with conditions likely to remain the same throughout”.

With Pooja Vastrakar unavailable due to Covid-19, India handed a T20I debut to fast bowler Meghna Singh while announcing a XI that only had one other seamer in Renuka Singh. They went in with three spinners in Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Deepti Sharma and Radha Yadav.

Against a full-strength Australia, they also preferred to play an extra batter at No. 6 in Harleen Deol, who also offers part-time spin, thereby resisting the temptation to play another spin-bowling allrounder in Sneh Rana.

Australia too fielded three frontline spinners in Jess Jonassen, Alana King and Ash Gardner, while Darcie Brown and Megan Schutt formed the pace attack. There was no place for star allrounder Ellyse Perry.

Australia are coming into the CWG on the back of a rain-affected tri-series against Pakistan and Ireland. They recorded two comfortable victories against Ireland, while their matches against Pakistan were washed out.

India are coming into the tournament on the back of a rigorous ten-day fitness and skills camp in Bengaluru. Prior to that, they toured Sri Lanka, where they won both ODI and T20I series.

This is the first time that women’s cricket has been included in the CWG. Pakistan and Barbados join India and Australia to make up Group A. Group B comprises England, South Africa, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. The top two teams from each pool will qualify for the semi-finals.

Australia: 1 Alyssa Healy (wk), 2 Beth Mooney, 3 Meg Lanning (capt), 4 Tahlia McGrath, 5 Rachael Haynes, 6 Ashleigh Gardner, 7 Grace Harris, 8 Jess Jonassen, 9 Alana King, 10 Megan Schutt, 11 Darcie Brown

India: 1 Smriti Mandhana, 2 Shafali Verma, 3 Yastika Bhatia (wk), 4 Harmanpreet Kaur (capt), 5 Jemimah Rodrigues, 6 Harleen Deol, 7 Deepti Sharma, 8 Radha Yadav, 9 Rajeshwari Gayakwad, 10 Meghna Singh, 11 Renuka Singh

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo