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Two years ago, India and Bangladesh played a highly engrossing T20I final in Kuala Lumpur minus some of the needle that has accompanied representational games of cricket between these two countries. Harmanpreet Kaur smashed 56. The best a Bangladesh batter managed was Nigar Sultana’s 27. Yet, it was Harmanpreet who was left ashen-faced at the end of a dramatic finale as Bangladesh outdid India to pick up the silverware. Strange as it seems, June 10, 2018 was the last time these two neighbours met in a T20 game.

Now they finally reconnect in the shortest format with the stakes just as high even if the trophy is a considerable distance away. India are buoyant once more. They already have a win against the hosts and pre-tournament favourites, Australia, under their belt. Another one here in Perth should go a long way in facilitating a jitter-free progress through the group phase. Strangely though, it’s their bowling that looks more assured, with the batting beyond the cream at the top still prone to crumbling.

Quite what to expect from Bangladesh remains a mystery. They had an unbeaten run through the qualifiers in Ireland and won a quadrangular featuring India A & B and Thailand. Against opposition of slightly greater pedigree, like Pakistan, who they toured before this tournament, they came a cropper losing each of the three T20Is. But just when the underdog tag began to sit well on them, Bangladesh beat the same Pakistan last week on the back of an impressive bowling display by Jahanara Alam. Much will depend on her and the likes of Fargana Hoque, Sanjida Islam and Nahida Akhter – all of whom have done well in the period since the last T20 World Cup.

Bangladesh will not be overly perturbed at the prospect of facing a spin barrage although they’ll keep an eye out for Poonam Yadav and her bag of tricks. The last time the diminutive leggie took a T20I four-fer before Friday, Bangladesh withstood her onslaught and went on to win that 2018 Asia Cup final. It’s a memory they’ll hold close to themselves if and when India come charging out of the blocks tomorrow.

Pitch Report | Ian Bishop: It’s the WACA again, and I loved bowling here (I’m sure he did!). The surface is the same one that Australia and Sri Lanka played on.
Harmanpreet Kaur | India captain: We wanted to bat, and get a decent total on the board, so we are happy. The first game was good for us to set the tone, and we’re positive that we’ll do that. Smriti Mandhana is out due to viral fever, and Richa Ghosh comes in for her.

Salma Khatun | Bangladesh captain: I’d like to bat first – umm, sorry, I’d like to field first. I liked the fact that we won the warm-ups and that will give us a lot of confidence in the main matches. In the Asia Cup we won against India, so we’ll give our best against India. We’ll put our best foot forward

Bangladesh Women have won the toss and have opted to field

India Women Squad: Shafali Verma, Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur(c), Deepti Sharma, Veda Krishnamurthy, Shikha Pandey, Taniya Bhatia(w), Arundhati Reddy, Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Pooja Vastrakar, Radha Yadav, Harleen Deol, Richa Ghosh

Bangladesh Women Squad: Shamima Sultana(w), Ayasha Rahman, Sanjida Islam, Nigar Sultana, Rumana Ahmed, Fargana Hoque, Jahanara Alam, Salma Khatun(c), Nahida Akter, Khadija Tul Kubra, Panna Ghosh, Fahima Khatun, Ritu Moni, Murshida Khatun, Sobhana Mostary