The sixth edition of Women’s World T20, which is being hosted by the West Indies, will kick-off on Thursday and the opener fixture is between India and New Zealand at the Providence Stadium, Guyana.

Rohi Sharma, who is currently leading India in the absence of Virat Kohli in the limited-overs series against West Indies, sent his best wishes to Harmanpreet Kaur-led side.

“Best wishes to our women’s cricket team for the T20 World Cup who will be taking on New Zealand cricket team tonight. I’m very optimistic for this one and I’m sure, they’ll bring glory to our country. All the very best,” a smiling Rohit said in a video.

India have not been very competitive in the shortest format compared to the 50-over game in which they scripted a path-breaking moment last year when they reached the World Cup final. 

In the end, nerves got the better of them and they lost the title clash to England after being in complete control at one stage.

Captain Harmanpreet Kaur and recently-appointed coach Ramesh Powar insist that the team has learnt from that final loss and the presence of youngsters, including six World Cup debutants, makes the squad “fearless”.

India have never won the World T20 in their previous five attempts with their best result, a semifinal appearance, coming in 2009 and 2010. This is the first stand-alone World T20 for women after being held alongside the men’s event in the past editions. 

In the lead-up to the World T20, India have hit good form, beating hosts Sri Lanka before blanking Australia A at home. What should give them additional confidence going into the opener is the wins against reigning champions West Indies and England in the warm-up matches. 

Opener Smriti Mandhana, on whom India will be relying heavily in the Caribbean, said the Asia Cup T20 final loss to Bangladesh in June was a timely wake-up call. 

“After the setback in the Asia Cup, everyone went back and worked hard. You can see everyone is up to the mark where you need to be at the international standard,” said Mandhana, who is also the vice-captain.

“The Sri Lanka series has been really good. For me personally, I didn’t get really good scores, but one match, Harmanpreet and I didn’t score a single run and we got 170. That was brilliant.

“The bowlers too have improved massively in last three months, they are clear with their plans. And fielding wise, we are 10 percent better than in the last World Cup,” added Mandhana, who will open alongside veteran Mithali Raj.

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