Reuters: India’s limited-overs cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Sunday (Febraury 21) said his 15-member squad was confident of lifting the twin T20 tournaments – Asia Cup and World Twenty20.
Twenty20 series wins over Australia and Sri Lanka have given top-ranked India plenty of cause for optimism as they launch their bid for a second world crown in the sport’s shortest format on home soil next month.
“Well yes, I have the belief and also the talent that is required to win a big tournament. You know, I feel this team has all the ingredients. Again, what will be important is to keep the team fit and at the same time try to give as many games to all the individuals who are a part of the side,” said Dhoni on Sunday (21) in eastern Kolkata city before flying for Dhaka to take part in the Asia Cup.
Champions in the inaugural edition of the World Twenty20 in 2007, India blanked hosts Australia 3-0 at the start of the year before returning home to rally for a 2-1 win over Sri Lanka.
Asia Cup is being played in the T20 format for the first time. The tournament will be played from 24 February to 6 March.
However, India will go into the Asia Cup without pacer Mohammed Shami, who is still nursing an injury. Shami was recently replaced by swing bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the continental tournament. The injury-prone pacer is also doubtful for the T20 World Cup.
When asked about the utility of keeping an injured Shami in the squad for the T20 World Cup, Dhoni said he could add teeth to the attack.
“It is a big stage, we are talking about the T20 World Cup and also he has been one bowler who has you know really bowled well for us with the new ball and also at the death. So you know, that was considered but at the same time there are chances of him not being fit also. If he has some other kind of an injury, you know he may not feature but that is fair enough but at least if he is fit then our bowling attack looks even more better,” he said.
Dhoni said the pacer would be in the team only after he proved his fitness. The 25-year-old Shami has not played international cricket since finishing as India’s second most successful bowler at last year’s 50-over World Cup in Australia and New Zealand with 17 wickets. Following the Asia cup, the team will return home for the world T-20 which will be played across seven cities.
India have been pooled alongside Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and a yet-to-be-decided qualifier in Group 2 of the Super 10 stage of the 8 March-3 April tournament. They open their campaign against New Zealand in Nagpur on 15 March.
Anuja Patil’s cameo, three-for sinks Sri Lanka
ESPNCricinfo: Anuja Patil produced a cameo with the bat to lift India Women to 130 and then struck three times with the ball to apply the chokehold on Sri Lanka Women’s chase in Ranchi. Her all-round effort sent India 1-0 up in the three-match T20 series.
Anuja struck in the first over of the chase, removing Yasoda Mendis for 8. She soon dismissed the other opener, Chamari Atapattu, for a seven-ball duck. Shikha Pandey, Ekta Bisht, Poonam Yadav, Deepti Sharma all built on the early strikes and ensured that Sri Lanka were limited to 96 for 7 in 20 overs. Wicketkeeper-batsman Dilani Manodara made the only score of note - 41 off 44 balls. The next-best score was captain Shashikala Siriwardene’s 18 off 29 balls. Each of India’s bowlers boasted an economy rate of under 5.80. Anuja finished with career-best figures of 3 for 14.
Earlier in the day, India’s top order stuttered as well as the hosts were reduced to 15 for 2 within four overs. But the innings was stabilised by thirties from Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur. Anuja, coming in at No.6, hit three fours during her 17-ball 22 to provide the final flourish.
Left-arm spinner Sugandika Kumari, who accounted for the top three, was the pick of the bowlers for Sri Lanka. However, it only offered scant consolation for the visitors.
Chief Scores: India Women 130 for 6 (Kaur 36, Mandhana 35, Anuja 22*, Kumari 3-28) beat Sri Lanka Women 96 for 7 (Surangika 41, Anuja 3-14) by 34 runs