So, the stage is set again.
India Women are ready to take on South African counterparts in their 5th group stage match in Women's World Cup 2017. The match will be played on 8th July 2017 at Grace Road in Leicester starting at 3PM (IST) and will be telecasted live on Star Sports and Hotstar.
So far India has won all the four games and are comfortably placed 2nd in the points table, while on the other hand SA has won two out of four, lost one against England and match against New Zealand was washed out due to rain without single bowl being bowled. Having 5 points in their kitty, SA Women are at 5th spot currently. Even though SA is placed below, it has better Net Run Rate (+1.165) than India (+0.914).
Following are the results of games played by South Africa Women in this tournament:-
1. 1st warm up - against Australia - lost by 103 runs
2. 2nd warm up - against West Indies - won by 6 wickets
3. 1st Group Match - against Pakistan - won a thriller by 3 wickets
4. 2nd group Match - against WI - won by 10 wickets
5. 3rd group Match - against NZ - abandoned due to rain, no result
6. 4th group Match - against England - lost by 68 runs
Taking a closer look at this data, we found out that SA Women have performed well against comparatively weaker teams and struggled against stronger ones. On the other hand, India has raised the bar by winning against England in their opening match. This match can actually be the litmus test for both the teams.
Going back to 2013 edition of Women's World Cup, where India was knocked out off super six, South africa finished 6th after losing their 5th place match to Sri Lanka
What has been a strange and one of the rare facts is that both these teams have not faced each other in last three WCs. More interestingly, after playing a series way back in 2002, they never played each other for more than a decade.
Following are the statistics of Head to head clashes between India Women and SA Women in Women's ODI till date:-
1. 2002 4-match series played in SA - won by SA (2-1)
2. 2014-15 3-match series played in SA- won by SA (2-1)
3. 2016-17 World Cup Qualifier Final - India won a thriller
4. 2017 Women's Quadrangular series in SA - India Women won by defeating South Africa by 8 wickets
Key players to be watched out for this match-
India:- Deepti Sharma ( Last match hero), pacer Shikha Pandey ( best records against SA since her debut in 2014), captain Mithali Raj ( in golden form currently and just 33 runs away from the record of highest run scorer in Women's ODI)
South Africa:- openers Laura Wolvaardt and Lizelle Lee, all-rounder Sune Luus (bats explosively down the order), Captain Dane Van Niekerk ( created history in this WC match against WI with figures 3.2-3-0-4 ) and last but not the least, bowler Moseline Daniels ( very economical bowling records in this tournament )
This can be aptly termed as the Battle of Equals and would be pretty much early to pick one of them as favorites before the match goes underway.
As it is said, unpredictability is the best parameter of seeking the importance of a particular game, this one is surely a Must Watch.
Wishing the Raj and team All The Best, we hope to be back with another good news for all the Indian fans out there with our detailed post match analysis. Till then, keep following Female Cricket.