Defending champions England ready to take on Sri Lanka

Mumbai, Jan 28 (IANS) Defending champions England will start as favourites to qualify for the Super Six stage of the ICC Women's cricket World Cup from Group A, which also includes hosts India and qualifiers the West Indies and Sri Lanka.

The second and third places will be a hard fought contest with the West Indies a vastly improved side from four years ago and India and Sri Lanka all vying for the Super Six placings, with the sub-continent sides perhaps more confident due to the event being hosted here.

England, winner of the tournament in 1973, 1993 and most recently in 2009, will begin their latest campaign against Sri Lanka on the second day of the tournament here. A day later in the feature match of the group Charlotte Edwards, featuring in her fifth successive World Cup, will lead England against 2009 third-place finishers India before concluding the group stage matches against the West Indies Feb 6.

England's matches against Sri Lanka and India will be played at the Cricket Club of India (CCI).

On the opening day, the hosts will take on the West Indies at the CCI. Sri Lanka will meet the West Indies Feb 4 at MIG while Feb 6 Shashikala Siriwardena's side will face India at CCI.

Sri Lanka won the right to compete in the tournament when they finished in the top four of the World Cup Qualifier in Dhaka in November 2011. The side beat South Africa in the third/fourth play-off to occupy the fourth spot in Group A while the West Indies qualified for the third spot in the group after completing the tournament undefeated.

At the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, the West Indies finished in the top four after a tight semifinal against Australia last October. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka managed just one win throughout the whole event, ironically against the West Indies in Galle.

The England squad for the World Cup features familiar faces including captain Edwards while there are eight players from the original winning squad of 2009 including the in-form Twenty20 Player of the Year 2012 Sarah Taylor, who will once again lead the side's batting line-up.

Edwards requires a mere 61 more One-Day International (ODI) runs to usurp Belinda Clark of Australia to become the most successful run-scorer in women's cricket. Clark's record of 4,844 runs has stood since 2005.

The bowling attack features No.1 ODI bowler Katherine Brunt, who currently has 76 scalps, along with the talented slow left-armer Holly Colvin, who happened to also hit the winning runs for England back in 2009 when they defeated Australia in the final of the event.

India women are to be led by Mithali Raj, the women's No.1 batter, while former captain Jhulan Goswami also features again in the side. Others to watch out for include the diminutive batter Punam Raut and her state teammate wicketkeeper-batter Sulakshana Naik plus bowlers Gouher Sultana and Nagarajan Niranjana.

The West Indies side features a mixture of youth and experience including the only twins in the event, Kycia and Kyshona Knight of Barbados. The side is led by Trinidadian Merissa Aguilleira while ODI Player of the Year 2012 Stafanie Taylor is her deputy.

In-form spinner Anisa Mohammed will be one to watch. The 24-year-old claimed 7/14 in the final of the Women's World Cup Qualifier 2011 against Pakistan and will be hoping the sub-continent conditions will suit her style of bowling.

Finally, Sri Lanka's side will be hoping for a positive tournament under the leadership of Siriwardena. The side is once again coached by Harsha de Silva while the players to watch out for include the likes of wicketkeeper-batter Dilani Manodara and top-order batter Yasoda Mendis.

When it comes to the bowling attack, Siriwardena will be key for the side in the sub-continent conditions with her off-spin as will medium-pacer Sripali Weerakoddy, who has represented the side in 37 ODIs.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Bangalore lose nerve, lose game

Bangalore lose nerve, lose game

IPL 7, GAME 11—Vinay's over, Lynn's catch turns last-over finish in KKR's favour. More »

Boycotting IPL will not save cricket

Boycotting IPL will not save cricket

Boycotting the IPL as a means of protest against the grime in the game may not yield the desired results. More »

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

IPL 7, GAME 10—Chennai beat Rajasthan by 7 runs after last-over scare. More »

Gambhir a knock away from striking form - KKR coach

Gambhir a knock away from striking form - KKR coach

Gautam made an eight-ball duck in the opening game against Mumbai and in the second game against Delhi, he lasted only half those balls. More »

Rivals say Srini group delaying BCCI special general meeting

Rivals say Srini group delaying BCCI special general meeting

The group opposed to Srinivasan alleged that since BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel belongs to the president’s group, he was intentionally delaying the SGM… More »

April 24: A legend is born

As Sachin Tendulkar turns 41 - here's a look at some offbeat moments from the Master Blaster's innings. More »

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

... because, as recent events reveal, the BCCI has little intention of doing it. More »

SL in 'difficult place' after Farbrace exit

SL in 'difficult place' after Farbrace exit

Sri Lanka depart for assignments in Ireland and England in two weeks, and Sanath Jayasuriya suggested Marvan Atapattu would be interim head coach for those… More »

Chandimal axed as T20 captain

Chandimal axed as T20 captain

Sri Lanka's cricket selectors on Wednesday sacked Dinesh Chandimal as Twenty20 captain and replaced him with Lasith Malinga, while Angelo Mathews was… More »

Vithanage, Priyanjan get T20 call-ups

Vithanage, Priyanjan get T20 call-ups

Herath has been rested, while the team will be without the veteran pair of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, who retired from T20 internationals… More »

'BCCI should have picked panel with care'

'BCCI should have picked panel with care'

Dalmiya said that it was the first time that the BCCI had been faced with a situation where the apex court had hauled up the Board and it should have acted… More »

Farbrace is England's assistant coach

Farbrace is England's assistant coach

The ECB continued the restructuring of the England coaching set-up on Wednesday by announcing the appointment of Paul Farbrace as assistant coach. More »

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

Mukul Mudgal has communicated to the court his willingness to take up the investigation and has been asked to specify the terms and modalities on April… More »

Sri Lanka players resolve pay dispute

Sri Lanka players resolve pay dispute

The pay dispute between Sri Lanka Cricket and its 13 contracted players ended on Wednesday when the latter agreed to accept 10 percent of the participation… More »

Hope to be fit for next game - Pietersen

Hope to be fit for next game - Pietersen

With two heavy defeats at the hands of Bangalore and Chennai, Daredevils currently languish near the bottom of the table. More »

'SC decision could hurt BCCI's status'

'SC decision could hurt BCCI's status'

The Supreme Court prefers that the Justice Mudgal panel further investigate the IPL corruption scandal. More »

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

The Mukul Mudgal probe committee dropped a bombshell in the Supreme Court on Tuesday by making a sensational claim that it was forced to stop audio recording… More »

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

IPL7, GAME 9—Maxwell (95, 43b), Balaji (4-13) set up 72-run win. More »

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Money talks, but it is in light of this ICC shakeup that the ECB's act of soliciting of another team's coach deteriorates from free-market aggression to… More »

Farbrace quits for England post

Farbrace quits for England post

He will assist Peter Moores who was unveiled as the new England coach on Saturday. More »

Moin appointed to manage Pakistan team

Moin appointed to manage Pakistan team

Pakistan on Monday reappointed Moin Khan as chief selector and manager of the national team, a week after fellow former captain Rashid Latif turned down… More »

Chennai smash Delhi for first win

Chennai smash Delhi for first win

IPL7, MATCH 8—Raina-led middle order, superlative catching give CSK a 93-run win. More »

'BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years'

'BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years'

The former BCCI president says he was "disillusioned" by the happenings at the emergent working committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Injured Bravo to miss rest of IPL

Injured Bravo to miss rest of IPL

Dwayne Bravo is set to be sidelined for at least four weeks due to a shoulder problem. Bravo sustained the injury when attempting a catch on the boundary… More »