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Women's Twenty20: England need top three to fire in crunch match


England have lost only two of their nine women's Twenty20 matches against India. The most recent reversal was four years ago and today is definitely not the time for the third defeat.

It would prove potentially disastrous for the team's hopes of qualifying for the semi-final of the World Twenty20, for which they are one of the favourites. England can console themselves with the fact that the tournament so far has not gone according to plan.

In the opening round of matches, New Zealand surprisingly defeated Australia, Sri Lanka beat India and England somehow contrived to muck up their chase against West Indies. Thus, both sides arrive for today's second group match in Sylhet needing victory.

There is the feeling that England choked against West Indies, frazzled by what is expected of them and by their recent poor record against their opponents. They have to compose themselves more assuredly and the middle order take responsibility.

England have opted for a fresh approach by opening with both their leading batsmen, the captain, Charlotte Edwards, who has usually been at the top of the order, and Sarah Taylor, who hasn't.

Until now, Taylor has been at three. Still, had she not been run out after the pair had added 42 against West Indies all might have been well. They and the elegant Lydia Greenway at No 3 must carry the burden of largely seeing England to acceptable totals.

The bowling looks in good order, capable of stifling most middle orders. Jodie Dibble and Rebecca Grundy, debutants here, will have learned much from Monday. England should stick with these left-arm seamers because they have plenty of potential.

India are perhaps too reliant on their auspicious opener and captain, Mithali Raj. They duplicate England to an extent with Edwards and it is time for others to come to the party.