Harmanpreet Kaur unlikely, Pooja Vastrakar ruled out of IND vs AUS T20 World Cup semi-final

Ahead of their T20 World Cup semi-final clash against Australia in Cape Town later on Thursday evening, India are sweating over the availability of captain Harmanpreet Kaur and pacer Pooja Vastrakar. The ICC confirmed that Vastakar has been ruled out of the semifinal match while an update is still awaited on skipper Harman. The ICC has approved Sneh Rana as a replacement for Vastrakar. Rana was part of India’s reserves at the T20 World Cup.

“The player has been ruled out due to an upper respiratory tract infection ahead of the crucial contest,” the ICC said in a statement.

“The ICC Event Technical Committee has approved a replacement player request from the BCCI.Off-spin bowling all-rounder Sneh Rana, who has featured in 47 internationals including 24 T20Is, will replace Vastrakar and could come into consideration for the cut-throat semi-final on Thursday,” the statement further said.

Indian woman player Pooja Vastrakar with teammates celebrates the wicket of Pakistan’s Nida Dar during the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 match between India women and Pakistan women, in Newlands, Cape Town, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2023. (PTI Photo)

In case Harman is also ruled out, it will dent India’s chances massively on Thursday as there are also fitness concerns about left-arm spinner Radha Yadav. If Kaur doesn’t recover, then Smriti Mandhana will captain the side against Australia, who are aiming for their third successive T20 World Cup title. India are already starting the match as underdogs and the illness to two of their key players makes it all the more challenging for them.

If Kaur is not fit to take the field, then Harleen Deol will come in place of her. The Indian captain hasn’t had a good tournament so far, scoring only 66 runs in four matches. However, she has a reputation of bringing out her A-game in big matches, something India would definitely need against a power-packed Australia team.

Vastrakar, has taken only two wickets so far in the tournament, but is one of the key prospects with the new ball alongside Renuka Singh. While India have taken the field with three pacers and three spinners, in case Vastrakar and Radha are not available, then they would be forced to change bowling combinations too. While Devika Vaidya will become a certainty, India may have to include left-arm medium pacer Anjali Sarvani and if they look to strengthen their batting, will bring in Yastika Bhatia.

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