Women's Asia Cup T20 tournament preview: India again the favorite
Women's Asia Cup T20 tournament preview: India again the favorite

The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Women's Asia Cup tournament will be played from June 3-10 in Malaysia. The tournament will feature five other teams apart from hosts Malaysia – Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

The mega event will consist of 16 matches, out of which the first one will be played between India and Malaysia at Kinrara Academy Oval in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
Team India will start the tournament as the defending champions and will be favorites to lift the title come July 10.

Champions Preview


In the tournament's previous edition, India defeated arch-rivals Pakistan in the final of the tournament by 17 runs to lift the title.

The star of the show for the winning side was veteran right-handed batsman Mithali Raj, who scored a stunning unbeaten 73 off just 65 balls in tough batting conditions. Raj finished the tournament as the highest run-getter with 220 runs and was named player of the tournament for her heroics.

Pakistan's off-spinner Sana Mir was the best bowler of the tournament as she claimed 16 wickets for the runners up. India remained unbeaten in the tournament in 2016 as they defeated Bangladesh (by 64 runs), Thailand (by nine wickets), Sri Lanka (by 52 runs), Nepal (by 99 runs) and Pakistan (by five wickets and 17 runs).

India also holds the record for most number of Women's Asia Cup titles under their belt (6).

Injury update


Sri Lanka will go into the tournament with a major injury problems as two of their seasoned campaigners – captain Chamari Athapaththu and all-rounder Ama Kanchana have been ruled out of the competition due to dengue fever. With Athapaththu not in the frame for the tournament, former captain Shashikala Siriwardane will lead the side.

Players to watch


Mithali Raj (India)

Mithali Raj is India's most decorated women cricketer over the last decade and has contributed significantly in team's cause on more than one occasion. The 35-year-old will be once again given the responsibility to lead from the front with the bat in hand as she did on a lot of previous occasions. Raj has played 72 T20Is for Team India since making her debut in 2006, where she has scored 1,977 runs at an average of 38.76, which included 14 half-centuries with the highest of 76.

Sana Mir (Pakistan)

Sana Mir is Pakistan's most famous women cricketer and captained the team for a number of years. However, the 32-year-old now plays under the leadership of Bismah Mahroof, where her role is of a senior figure. Mir recently became the first Pakistan women bowler to claim 100 ODI wickets as well. Mir has represented Pakistan in 82 T20Is, where she claimed 70 wickets and scored 695 runs. She was also the leading wicket taker in the tournament's previous edition.

Harmanpreet Kaur (India)

Harmanpreet Kaur is India's captain and one of the fiercest striker in women's cricket. Kaur is the first women player from India to take part in a T20 league outside India. The 29-year-old has represented her nation in 77 T20Is, where she scored 1,401 runs with four half-centuries and also claimed 15 wickets.

Shashikala Siriwardene (Sri Lanka)

Shashikala Siriwardene is Sri Lanka's stand-in captain in the upcoming edition and will be one of the team's most important player. In the absence of two important players, Siriwardene, who has represented Sri Lanka in 55 T20Is, where she claimed 53 wickets and scored 780 runs, will have the responsibility to lead from the front and keep the team's morale high.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Azeem Siddiqui
Azeem Siddiqui writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire
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