The 2017 World Cup semifinal, and Harmanpreet Kaur’s heroics, certainly changed a whole lot for both teams involved in it. For India, it propelled them to a final at Lord’s... for Australia, it brought about wholesale changes in approach.

But both teams insisted on the day ahead of the match that 2017 is a thing of the past. No shadows looming over this one, good or bad. If anything, India are keen to take positives from the tour of Australia where they brought an end to Australia’s world record streak of ODI wins.

India head into this game with two wins and two losses. They are currently at fourth position; a win propel them into third position. Meanwhile, Australia enter this match in red hot form, winning their previous four encounters convincingly. They already have a foot in the semifinal, a win here would only take them closer to the top spot. India’s inconsistency with the bat will be at the foremost of the minds of Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana and Co while Australia have coasted through on the brilliance of their depth despite being tested in-game on a few occasions.

And there is also the additional factor of rain to watch out for.

Five years ago, India beat Australia by 36 runs to make the final and they need another victory this time around to keep alive their hopes of progressing to the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 semi-finals.

Convincing wins over Pakistan and the West Indies have been marred by equally emphatic defeats to hosts New Zealand and reigning champions England, with India unable to guarantee their place in the last four if they suffer any further slip-ups.

While India’s batting has been up and down since landing in New Zealand, something for which Smriti Mandhana said she had no real explanation for, the left-hander has made a good start to the tournament, racking up 216 runs at an average of 54, and is relishing the prospect of coming up against the unbeaten favourites.

“I don’t really know what gets the best out of me against Australia, but I think they’re a really competitive team,” said the 25-year-old.

“And sometimes when the bowlers are going hard on you and I’m not an aggressive person by nature, but, somewhere inside me, there is an instinct where I want to really do well and get back at them with the bat.

“That’s something which maybe really motivates me against Australia and it’s a very important game tomorrow, so I hope I can contribute against them.”

After Harmanpreet’s blistering unbeaten 171 off 115 balls knocked Australia out of the last World Cup, you could be forgiven for thinking India may have a psychological edge on the big stage but both camps insist the events of that dramatic day in Derby will play no part.

“Well, for us it’s a non-event internally,” said Australia coach Matthew Mott in Auckland. “We’re just looking forward to another match.

“It’s an opportunity to put our case forward for the semi-finals, which is what we’ve come here to do. Everyone seems to be beating everyone at the moment, so to get out in front with another win would be a huge advantage and then we can sort of dictate our own terms on the finals.

“Literally, the last thing on our mind is what happened five years ago, so we’re just really determined to make every match count.”

Mandhana concurred and instead pointed to her side’s impressive displays during the three-match series on their 2021 tour Down Under which although India narrowly lost 2-1, could easily have gone either way.

She added: “Everyone knows what happened in 2017 but I think it’s better that we don’t really think about it. It’s going to be a fresh day.

“More than 2017, we definitely had a word about how we went about in the series against Australia when we were touring Australia [last year] and the kind of cricket we played there and the kind of bowling we did there.

“So that’s something which we have had discussions around. And something which has given a lot of confidence to all the players because we have done well in the recent past against them.”

Mott praised India for having “one of the best new-ball bowling attacks in the world” and fittingly the leader of that attack Jhulan Goswami, 39, will make her 200th ODI appearance against Australia.

Having already celebrated her 250th ODI wicket during what is her fifth World Cup, seamer Goswami will become just the second woman to make 200 appearances after her captain Mithali Raj and Mandhana is delighted to be a part of a record-breaking day for her teammate.

She said: “I think it’s a proud moment for all of us for Jhulu Di to play her 200th match and for us to be a part of the history she’s going to make.

“I think it’s an amazing feat for her and I think for a pace bowler to play for that many years and to be playing in 200 matches is something incredible and that’s all thanks to her work ethic.

“She’s motivated everyone and I’m sure tomorrow is going to be another day she’s going to be a motivation for all of us here as well as back home all the girls who are watching on TV.”

Head-to-head and more

Match 17 of this year’s tournament will be the 13th meeting between India and Australia at ICC Women’s World Cups. These two nations have played 49 ODIs including the World Cups. Australia have dominated the head-to-head battle so far, winning on 39 occasions, compared to India’s 10.

H2H at ICC Women's CWC

Result Margin Ground Match date Toss won by
India won 36 runs Derby 20 Jul 2017 India
Australia won 8 wickets Bristol 12 Jul 2017 Australia
India won 3 wickets Sydney 21 Mar 2009 Australia
India won 16 runs Sydney 14 Mar 2009 Australia
Australia won 98 runs Centurion 10 Apr 2005 Australia
Abandoned - Pretoria 3 Apr 2005 -
Australia won 51 runs Lincoln 6 Dec 2000 Australia
Australia won 19 runs Delhi 24 Dec 1997 India
Australia won 7 wickets Wetherby 21 Jul 1993 India
Australia won 39 runs Christchurch 4 Feb 1982 Australia
Australia won 4 wickets Wellington 26 Jan 1982 Australia
Australia won 153 runs Auckland 10 Jan 1982 Australia
Australia won 71 runs Patna 8 Jan 1978 India

ODI results from 2017

Result Margin Ground Start Date Toss won by
India won 2 wickets Mackay 26 Sep 2021 Australia
Australia won 5 wickets Mackay 24 Sep 2021 Australia
Australia won 9 wickets Mackay 21 Sep 2021 Australia
Australia won 97 runs Vadodara 18 Mar 2018 Australia
Australia won 60 runs Vadodara 15 Mar 2018 India
Australia won 8 wickets Vadodara 12 Mar 2018 India
India won 36 runs Derby 20 Jul 2017 India
Australia won 8 wickets Bristol 12 Jul 2017 Australia

Key battle

India have picked up 25 wickets in just four innings at an outstanding economy of 3.9 in over 11- 40, this is the best by any team in this competition thus far. Rajeshwari Gayakwad (9), Sneh Rana (4) and Meghna Singh (4) have shared 68% of those wickets. On the other hand, the average runs scored for each wicket by Australia in the middle phase is 76.1 (Total runs – 533; wickets – 7); by far the best by any team in this tournament. 50.6 % of these runs are contributed by Rachael Haynes (Avg – 79; SR – 96.3) and Meg Lanning (Avg – 56; SR – 74.7).

Quotes corner

Smriti Mandhana, India batter

On losing wickets in a cluster:

I think we have been losing wickets back to back and that’s something which we as a batting unit want to address it and I think 50 overs is all about partnerships, good partnerships. So we definitely want to work on it. And I think – as set batter, it’s more responsibility for that better to take the game forward from that time when you’re able to time the ball well. So that’s something which I’ll be really conscious about, that we don’t have to lose wickets back to back and develop a partnership from there, because yeah, I think when one or two good partnerships, we’ll be able to post a total which will be a good total.

On why the batting has been up and down since reaching NZ

Well, if I had an explanation, I would have definitely discussed in the team dressing room but I wouldn’t say there’s any explanation because you cannot really - as a player when you represent India. There’s no explanation we can give for something like that. But in the series, I think our batters were really doing well. We’re getting a good total on board. But yeah, I think in the last four match our batting unit together hasn’t clicked and that’s something which we all really want to work on and I’m sure there’ll be a perfect game for the batters and I’m sure that - I hope that the game is tomorrow that we get a perfect game for the batter’s and of course our bowlers are doing amazing job. They just need a little more support from the batter’s to get the ‘W’ on the board.

Matthew Mott, Australia head coach

On whether Australia take anything out of England-India 

 It’s a funny one. I think there’s always been through the last few years, different teams beat each other and you can’t read a lot into them because we’re very different. And I think certainly, we had a good run against England recently but England-India is very different to Australia-India. So there are peculiar things to both teams. We match up with our bowling-lineup is considerably different in the way we approach the game. So, read a little bit into it, but mainly we will just stick to our strengths as a bowling group. And the clarity as I said before, for each bowler on how they execute their best skills, and bowling, the best balls under pressure is more about what we’re about at the moment.

With inputs from ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC 2020, Sportradar and ESPNCricinfo Statsguru. All statistics mentioned for women’s One Day Internationals unless otherwise stated.