India sit atop of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 standings after three matches, but captain Mithali Raj says her team still has plenty to work on as they prepare to lock horns with Sri Lanka on Wednesday.
India have won all three ties in the tournament thus far -- their bowlers had to dig the team out of trouble in their victory against Pakistan in Derby on Sunday.
India were restricted to just 169 from 50 overs and Pakistan had looked to get their first win of the tournament in the bag but Ekta Bisht's excellent spell of five for 18 saw Pakistan bowled out for just 74.
However, the Indian captain is more concerned about India’s batting and is keen for her side to build partnerships when it faces Sri Lanka.
“We definitely will look into the fact that we don’t lose wickets back-to-back because that puts a lot of pressure on the incoming batters as well as the team. We need to work on our partnerships as batters,” Mithali said at a press conference on Tuesday.
“In terms of bowling, the spinners have been doing well. (Against Pakistan) the pacers looked better than the last two games so it depends which wicket we play on against Sri Lanka. If it’s a fresh wicket, then we have different plans for it.”
Mithali praised her bowlers for their tight spell and not conceding too many runs with a small total to defend.
Mansi Joshi came into the side for her first game of the tournament against Pakistan and took two for nine as India maintained perfect record.
“Because Mansi was playing her first game of the World Cup (against Pakistan) and it was a situation where we needed wickets and not to lose runs in the first 10 overs, it was a crucial situation for us.
“We knew if we got wickets there was a good chance for us to be in the game. That’s why I wanted to go with experienced bowlers. They are in a better position and experienced. I’m really happy that Ekta rose to the occasion and delivered what the team required of her,” Mithali said.
Despite losing all three of its opening games, Sri Lanka captain Inoka Ranaweera says there are positives to take from the performances.
And with Sri Lanka unlikely to progress to the knockout stages, Ranaweera is keen for her side to end its stay in England on a high.
“Our two openers did really well and had a really good partnership at the start of the match against England which is a big thing.
“(Shashikala) Siriwardena and (Dilani) Manodara also put on a good partnership and again Ama (Kanchana) and Oshadhi (Ranasinghe) at the end. I think those are things that will help us to do well in the next two matches.
“At the moment India is doing really well so we’ll definitely have to play very good cricket against them to win. As a team though we’re in good condition, we are batting really well compared to the last few years. We managed to get over 200 against Australia and England, which is a big thing for us. We’ll be trying to do our best as a team against India,” the Lanka captain said
India: Mithali Raj (captain), Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Smriti Mandhana, Mona Meshram, Nuzhat Parween, Shikha Pandey, Poonam Raut, Deepti Sharma, Sushma Verma and Poonam.
Sri Lanka: Inoka Ranaweera (captain), Chamari Athapaththu, Chandima Gunaratne, Nipuni Hansika, Ama Kanchana, Eshani Lokusooriya, Harshitha Madhavi, Dilani Manodara, Hasini Perera, Chamari Polgampala, Udeshika Prabodani, Oshadhi Ranasinghe, Shashikala Siriwardena, Prasadani Weerakodi and Sripali Weerakkody.