© Getty Images

“Winning is a habit and we would like to stay in that habit as much as we can” – Heather Knight. © Getty Images

July 12 (Wednesday)
England v New Zealand, Derby
England’s three-run win over Australia in a televised game in Bristol on Sunday was watched by over 4000 people at the ground and followed by a quarter million on BBC Radio. The big figures are a pointer to how much of a hit the Women’s World Cup 2017 has been, and one more win for England, against New Zealand in Derby on Wednesday (July 12), might go a long way in propelling the numbers as it would assure England of a semifinal berth.

New Zealand have been playing an aggressive brand of cricket since their loss against Australia. So, if the weather – the forecast is good – allows then the fans at the ground could witness a cracker of a contest. The philosophy of both the teams is to take the game forward no matter what the situation is. It has not only made for exciting viewing, but has also boosted the net run-rate of both England and New Zealand.

The pitch in Derby has been assisting spinners, and it remains to be seen how England cope with New Zealand’s slow bowlers.  The team winning the toss would want to bat first, put up a good score and then expect the spinners to make use of the conditions.

What they said
Heather Knight, England captain: We would like to (win) tomorrow in the game against New Zealand. It’s another day and they are also a really good team as well. They are a dangerous team and have some really good players. We would love to put on a good performance. Winning is a habit and we would like to stay in that habit as much as we can.
Amy Satterthwaite, New Zealand allrounder: When anyone beats Australia, it’s a positive for the side. They would be taking a lot out of it. They would be pretty confident after that, and just the record in the last few games of late … they have played some real good cricket. They would be feeling positive, and it will be a real good game of cricket tomorrow.

Player in focus
England – Jenny Gunn: Back in the side for the game against Australia following an ankle injury to Fran Wilson, Gunn proved to be the difference between yet another loss for England and their first win over their arch-rivals in a World Cup since 1993. Coming in at 174 for 6, she made 39 off 42 balls and added 85 with Katherine Brunt to take England to 259 for 8. Then she bowled the final over and finished with figures of 2 for 54 to seal the deal.
New Zealand – Amy Satterthwaite: She has not really needed to bat since that unbeaten 78 against Sri Lanka in a successful chase on the tournament’s opening day. But playing her 100th One-Day International, she would be keen to get on the park and make a contribution as the tournament approaches its business end.

Teams (from)
England: Heather Knight (capt), Georgia Elwiss, Jenny Gunn, Alex Hartley, Sarah Taylor (wk), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Danielle Hazell, Beth Langston, Laura Marsh, Anya Shrubsole, Natalie Sciver, Fran Wilson, Danielle Wyatt, Lauren Winfield.
New Zealand: Suzie Bates (capt), Erin Bermingham, Sophie Devine, Maddy Green, Holly Huddleston, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Katey Martin, Thamsyn Newton, Katie Perkins, Anna Peterson, Rachel Priest (wk), Hannah Rowe, Amy Satterthwaite, Lea Tahuhu.

"This is a stage for women’s cricket – it’s the Women’s Cricket World Cup. So, why would you not give a woman player more importance?"- Raj. © Getty Images

Mithali Raj has to take the lead as India aim to get their campaign back on track and make a dash for the semifinals. © Getty Images

Australia v India, Bristol
With two games left in their campaign, India have four wins from five games, as have Australia and England, but have the two toughest games to finish with. That they have to face an Australia hurting from a close loss to England only makes it harder for them.

Australia’s bowling troubles were exposed in that three-run loss. The number of extras conceded was a wake-up call and Ellyse Perry, their fastest bowler, hasn’t been finishing her quota. Their spin attack can rival India’s, though, and will be key again.

India need to keep an eye on their dot-ball percentage. While setting a platform is all very well, they have been unable to build on it and poor net run-rate could hurt them later. Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur, both of whom were dismissed for ducks in the loss against South Africa, are due for a good hit. Those batting around them can’t afford sedate strike-rates.

What they said
Meg Lanning, Australia captain:
 There’s no more pressure than any other game. The last game was a good experience for our group to play under that sort of pressure and make sure we’re better next game. The squad is feeling relaxed and looking forward to the challenge of playing against good opposition. India have shown they’re a strong team and capable of beating anyone. We know they’re going to be a tough opposition. We’re going to have to be on our game. We have to play consistent cricket.
Mithali Raj, India captain: Losing against South Africa puts us in a very difficult situation now. Australia are a very good side, no doubt, they are one of the best sides in the world. But again I would say if we play as a team and if we round up all the concerned areas, there is a far more possibility that we can win a game. But again it depends hugely on how we pull ourselves from the last defeat, and play the best cricket.

Teams (from)
Australia: Meg Lanning (capt), Sarah Aley, Kristen Beams, Alex Blackwell, Nicole Bolton, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy (wk), Jess Jonassen, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Belinda Vakarewa, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington.
India: Mithali Raj (capt), 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 (wk), Poonam Yadav.

South Africa v Sri Lanka, Taunton
After their terrific 115-run win over India, which took their tally of points to seven in five games, South Africa would be high on confidence. A win against Sri Lanka will make them serious contenders for a semifinal berth, and they will be extra eager for a favourable result considering their last game is against Australia. Sri Lanka, who are still to open their account, will need Chamari Athapaththu and Shashikala Siriwardene to score big and give their spinners a good target to defend.

What they said
Chloe Tryon, South Africa allrounder: The pool’s pretty open at the moment. We just want to be able to play tomorrow and get two wins under our belt. The girls are delighted that we’ve been good in both departments. It’s good that we’ve been going from strength to strength.
Oshadi Ranasinghe, Sri Lanka medium pacer: The batters didn’t play to potential. Middle-order collapsed in important matches and situations. They have to contribute to win the next two matches. Fielding and bowling have to be neat and tight. The openers too have to give us a good score on the board, to help the bowlers. It goes the other way – if the bowlers get a good start, they should restrict the total as well, and we can cause an upset.

Teams (from)
South Africa: Dane van Niekerk (capt), Trisha Chetty (wk), Moseline Daniels, Marizanne Kapp, Chloe Tryon, Laura Wolvaardt, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Shabnim Ismail, Nadine de Klerk, Lizelle Lee, Sune Luus, Mignon du Preez, Raisibe Ntozakhe, Odine Kirsten.
Sri Lanka: Inoka Ranaweera (capt), Chamari Athapaththu, Chandima Gunaratne, Nipuni Hansika, Ama Kanchana, Eshani Lokusuriyage, Harshitha Madhavi, Dilani Manodara, Hasini Perera, Chamari Polgampola, Udeshika Prabodhani, Oshadi Ranasinghe, Shashikala Siriwardena, Prasadani Weerakkody (wk), Sripali Weerakkody.

With inputs from Karunya Keshav in Bristol.