Due to non-cricketing reasons, the two teams have almost no experience of playing each other
“The first game [between New Zealand and West Indies] and even today, watching England versus Australia, I think the wicket is definitely helpful to the batters but 250 is something every team is looking at to put up,” Raj said on the eve of the big game. “But it’s equally important to have a set batter playing throughout the innings because the wicket is a little on a slower side, so it’s not something that a new batter can come in and straightaway get to scoring runs.
“Having said that, the bowlers also have… they can use the variations on these wickets. So it’s not completely a belter of a wicket, I would say. To start off the tournament, it is good that they are posting totals of 250, but as the tournament goes on, I’m assuming that it might come down a little with the wickets tending to be used more.”
“That was a missed opportunity – against India, we couldn’t play because of some reasons. If we could have played, it was very good for the subcontinent, the girls in the subcontinent, and now we are really looking forward in this World Cup”
Bismah Maroof on the cancelled bilateral series against India
“It was a really exciting match and I think the wickets (pitches) here are very good,” she said. “And they assist bowlers as well. And I think we will see very high-scoring matches – and yes, I think the teams can upset, and we can expect higher-scoring matches in this World Cup.”
Though both teams have historically relied heavily on spinners, Maroof expected the young Pakistan pacers, Diana Baig and Fatima Sana, to have a strong impact on the fixture.
“Yes, we have improved as a fast-bowling unit, especially Diana and Fatima Sana have come far away and we have gelled together and we have the right combination in our bowling and all the bowlers complement each other,” Maroof said. “And yes, it’s just that (our) batting (needs to click). We’re looking forward that if we can put up a good show in batting, we really know that our bowling unit can do well.”
Raj said India’s approach going into the face-off with Pakistan would be one of taking things as they come, since the opponents are quite unfamiliar.
“As a team, we need to get in with a clean slate, [as a] confident unit, and believe that we can always turn things around and play according to the situation,” she said. “It’s very important when you have a longer tournament, important to be present be aware on the ground and play according to the situation.”
Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ghosh_annesha