Leicester (UK), July 7 (IANS) After a four-match unbeaten run, India will look to securing a semi-finals berth at the ICC Women’s World Cup when they meet South Africa at the Grace Road ground here on Saturday.
India will look to maintaining their winning streak after having defeated England, the West Indies, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in their previous outings.
On the other hand, South Africa have been a bit inconsistent, winning two of their four matches. They lost to England while their match against New Zealand was abandoned due to rain.
India are at the second spot on the points table with eight points, the same as defending champions Australia who are at the top position due to a superior run rate.
For South Africa, a win against India will help them enter the top four and get into contention for a semi-finals spot. The Proteas are presently at the fifth spot with five points.
India will heavily depend upon their in-form batter Smriti Mandhana and skipper Mithali Raj who have been in good nick throughout the tournament.
Mandhana and Raj have figured in all the four matches played by India so far. Mandhana has scored 206 runs with an average of 51.50 while Raj has scored 178 runs with an average of 44.50.
In the bowling department, the Indian spinners have wreaked the most damage on the opposition and may prove to be the key against South Africa as well.
Indian spinners Ekta Bisht and Deepti Sharma have picked up seven wickets each while Poonam Yadav has taken five wickets in the four matches that India have played so far.
Talented Indian batter Veda Krishnamurthy believes that her side holds the upper hand against South Africa and knows their strengths and weaknesses with the white ball.
“We’re quite confident for the game against South Africa because in the last four or five games we have played against them we have done well. We are aware of their team, we know what combinations and players are there, so we can play according to our strengths,” she said.
“We played them a couple of months back so we know their strengths and weaknesses, so we will be working towards them. We are more compact than them, because individually, South Africa are very good, but when it comes to collective performance, they really depend on their main players to do well.”
On the other hand, South Africa will depend on their openers Lizelee Lee and Laura Wolvaardt to start well against India.
Lee with 161 runs and Wolvaardt with 138 runs have been the leading scorers for South Africa in the three matches they have played so far.
In the bowling department, pacer Marizanhe Kapp will be the key for the Proteas. Kapp is the leading wicket taker in the tournament with eight scalps in three matches.
Leg-spinner Dane van Niekerk, who has picked up five wickets in three matches, will be another important player in the Proteas bowling department.
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 (wicketkeeper), Poonam Yadav.
South Africa: Dane van Niekerk (captain), Trisha Chetty (wicketkeeper), Moseline Daniels, Nadine de Klerk, Mignon du Preez, Shabnim Ismail, Marizanne Kapp, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Lizelle Lee, Sune Luus, Raisibe Ntozakhe, Andrie Steyn, Chloe Tryon and Laura Wolvaardt.