India will look to continue their winning streak when they take on Sri Lanka in a group stage match of the ICC Women’s World Cup at the County Cricket ground here on Wednesday.The Indian eves have won all three of their previous matches and are currently at the top of the table with six points. Defending champions Australia are also on six points, but India have pushed them to the second spot on superior run rate.India defeated hosts England by 35 runs in the opening match, thrashed the West Indies by seven wickets before outclassing arch-rivals Pakistan by 95 runs in their last match.On the other hand, Sri Lanka are virtually out of the tournament, having lost all their three matches.India enjoy a vast advantage in the head-to-head records, having won 23 of their 24 completed One-Day Internationals (ODI) against Sri Lanka. They come into this game having claimed wins in 20 of their last 21 ODIs.However, Sri Lanka will take heart from the fact that they thrashed India by 138 runs when the two sides last met in the World Cup in 2013.Indian opener Smriti Mandhana has been on the list of top run scorers this tournament and will look to give her side a good start along with Punam Raut.Mandhana has scored 198 runs in three matches with an average of 66.00.One down batter Deepti Sharma, skipper Mithali Raj and middle order batters Harmanpreet Kaur, Mona Meshram and Sushma Verma have looked in good nick and will look to maintain their good form.advertisementSkipper Raj has depended heavily on spin in this tournament and spinners Ekta Bisht and Deepti Sharma will also expect to play crucial roles against Sri Lanka.Bisht and Sharma are the joint highest wicket takers in the tournament with six scalps each. Bisht was the key in India’s 95-run win over Pakistan where she picked up a five-wicket haul.Bisht’s figures of 5/18 against Pakistan is the best recorded in the tournament so far.On the other hand, Sri Lanka will look to come all guns blazing against India having lost their initial matches.One down batter Chamari Athapattu has scored 232 runs in her three matches with an average of 77.33. Athapattu will be a key against India to help her side post a match winning total.Opening batters Nipuni Hansika and Chamari Polgampola will look to play a steady hand to help their side to a good start.Squads:India: Mithali Raj (captain), Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Smriti Mandhana, Mona Meshram, Nuzhat Parween, Shikha Pandey, Poonam Raut, Deepti Sharma, Sushma Verma (wicket-keeper), Poonam Yadav.Sri Lanka: Inoka Ranaweera (captain), Chamari Athapaththu, Chandima Gunaratne, Nipuni Hansika, Ama Kanchana, Eshani Lokusooriya, Harshitha Madhavi, Dilani Manodara (wicket-keeper), Hasini Perera, Chamari Polgampala, Udeshika Prabodani, Oshadhi Ranasinghe, Shashikala Siriwardena, Prasadani Weerakodi and Sripali Weerakkody.
Star wrestler Bajrang Punia on Sunday dedicated his gold medal victory at the Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov to Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who returned to India from Pakistan on Friday.Bajrang defeated American Jordan Oliver in the 65kg catergory final on Saturday at the Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov wrestling in Ruse, Bulgaria.”I want to dedicate my gold to Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. He has inspired me. I want to meet him one day and also shake hands with him,” Bajrang Punia tweeted after his victory.65kg Gold goes to – BAJRANG (IND) pic.twitter.com/BlPLvysNJYUnited World Wrestling (@wrestling) 2 March 2019Bajrang, who bagged the top prize at the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games last year, has won four gold medals and one silver in the last five tournaments.On Wednesday, Wing Commander Abhinandan, while flying the MiG 21 Bison, was chasing Pakistani F-16 fighters, which had transgressed into the Indian airspace, and in the process, his plane crossed over to Pakistani side and was shot down. He ejected safely but was taken into custody by the Pakistan Army upon landing. Before his plane was shot, he had hit a Pakistani F-16.Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday announced that Abhinandan would be handed over to India as a “peace gesture” and the moment finally came on a rainy night on Friday after hours of waiting.On March 1, wearing blue blazer and grey khaki trouser, he crossed over into India from Attari-Wagah border at 9:20 pm IST. He was handed over by the Pakistan Rangers to the Border Security Force (BSF) following paperwork.advertisementWing Commander Abhinandan was accompanied by an officer of the Pakistan Foreign Office and Indian Defence Attache Group Captain Joy Thomas Kurien.Tensions escalated between the two neighbouring nations following the Pulwama terror attack on February 14 in which India’s Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) lost 40 soldiers.Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility for the ghastly attack in which a suicide bomber blew up a CRPF bus in Pulwama.India responded to it by launching air strikes on a Jaish terror base in Balakot, early Tuesday morning. Pakistan retaliated with their own air strike inside the Indian territory the very next day after which Wing Commander Abhinandan crossed the border.Also Read | BCCI pays tribute to Abhinandan Varthaman: You rule the skies and you rule our heartsAlso Read | Virat Kohli salutes real hero Wing Commander Abhinandan: I bow down to youAlso Watch: