Time for Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Smriti Mandhana to stand up and be counted.
A semi-final berth secured, unbeaten India will be looking to address some of its batting issues in their final Group A match against a deflated Sri Lanka in the ICC women’s T20 World Cup, in Melbourne, on Saturday.
The Indians are on a roll, having easily sealed their semi-final berth with wins over defending champions Australia, Bangladesh and New Zealand. The Lankans, however, are out of the semi-final race following two defeats.
While India beat hosts Australia by 17 runs in the tournament opener, they defeated Bangladesh by 18 runs before a narrow four-run victory over the White Ferns on Thursday.
Come Saturday, the Harmanpreet Kaur-led side will look to end its group engagements on a high when it takes on the islanders.
But the Indians definitely have a few things to worry about, especially their below-par show with the bat, going into the business end of the tournament.
In all the previous outings, India failed to put up big scores. They managed just 132 runs against Australia, 142 against Bangladesh and 133 versus New Zealand.
India's unpredictable middle-order has repeatedly squandered good starts. In all the three matches, the bowling unit came to India's rescue and the bailed the side out.
Heavily reliant on the brilliance of 16-year-old Shafali Verma, the Indian middle-order cut a sorry figure so far and it's time senior pros like Harmanpreet and Veda Krishnamurthy step up and take up responsibility. Opener Smriti Mandhana too has failed to join the party so far.
Verma has been impressive at the top, registering scores of 29, 39 and 46 for a total of 114 from three games. But it's high time she converts the starts into big scores.
Skipper Harmanpreet has rued the inability of her batters to capitalise on good starts and cautioned them against making "silly mistakes" in the knock-out rounds.
"It's a great feeling when your team performs day in day out. Still we made the same mistakes after a good first 10 overs; we got a good start but couldn't carry the momentum," Kaur had said.
"We can't make silly mistakes with harder games coming up. Shafali (Verma) is giving us good starts; her initial runs are crucial for us," she added.
The Indian bowling, however, has been phenomenal in the tournament so far and played a vital role in their smooth entry into the last four stage.
Leg-spinner Poonam Yadav is the team’s star performer, picking up eight wickets so far, including a match-winning effort of 4 for 19 against Australia.
She was complemented well by the likes of Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Deepti Sharma and pacer Shikha Pandey.
India: Harmanpreet Kaur (Captain), Taniya Bhatia, Harleen Deol, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Richa Ghosh, Veda Krishnamurthy, Smriti Mandhana, Shikha Pandey, Poonam Yadav, Arundhati Reddy, Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma, Deepti Sharma, Pooja Vastrakar, Radha Yadav.
Sri Lanka: Chamari Atapattu (Captain), Harshitha Madavi, Nilakshi de Silva, Kavisha Dilhari, Ama Kanchana, Hansima Karunaratne, Achini Kulasuriya, Sugandika Kumari, Hasini Perera, Udeshika Prabodhani, Sathya Sandeepani, Anushka Sanjeewani, Shashikala Siriwardene, Dilani Manodara, Umesha Thimashini.
Match starts: 0930 IST.