After the closely-fought final of the recently concluded Twenty20 International tri-series, India and Australia will take on each other again in the opener of the T20 World Cup starting in Australia on February 21.
India batter Jemimah Rodrigues said the team is raring to go, adding that the opening match against the hosts will be one of the most important games of her career.
“I think it will be one of the most important games in my career. Playing a World Cup... nothing is more exciting than India in Australia, so it will be a match we all will be keen to play and just excited for, can’t wait to get to the first match,” Rodrigues was quoted as saying by the ICC.
“We’re really excited about the opening match against Australia,” added India bowler Shikha Pandey. “It’s going to be a challenge, obviously, it’s the World Cup, so the best teams are going to play against each other.”
Matches in the shortest format between India and Australia have been keenly contested in recent years. The two teams are coming off the tri-series where they both had one win each in their contests in the round-robin stage and in the last edition of the World Cup in the West Indies, India had easily beaten Australia in the group stage.
Australia fast bowler Megan Schutt was all praise for India’s batting might, which is lead by opener Smriti Mandhana and captain Harmanpreet Kaur. The left-handed Indian opener had top-scored in the tri-series with 216 runs.
“Smriti Mandhana is on another level. She’s put me over the fence countless times both on international and WBBL level, unfortunately. She’s got the X-factor, she’s a left-hander, can hit to all the areas of the field,” Schutt said.
“[They] have someone like Harmanpreet Kaur come out, who can just swing it like no other really, and kind of put you out of the stadium. And she’s obviously, kind of climbed to fame in the World Cup with the huge innings there and I think since then she’s also proved that she can do that in other matches,” she added.