India skipper Mithali Raj believes the hosts are strong contenders for the Women World T20 title and should be able to qualify for the semi-finals. the Women World T20 2016 starts on Tuesday March 15 with India Women taking on Bangladesh Women at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. The Mithali Raj led team head into the match with the pressure of the favourite tag dangling over their heads, whereas Bangladesh, who have come through the qualifiers have none of the burden of expectations, ahead of the tie here in Bengaluru.

Mithali Raj said:

“With the kind of momentum we have, we should at least qualify for the semi-finals. From there, it’s anyone’s game”

“Earlier it used to feel like those two teams were way ahead of the rest, but now the gap is closing. After our last two series wins, we too are strong contenders for the World Twenty20”

Having clinched a stunning series victory over World champions Australia Down Under and vanquishing Sri Lanka before the the mega event has given India a huge confidence boost. The Indian eves seem to have struck the perfect chord as they have notched up convincing wins in the warm up matches against Ireland and Sri Lanka, with both the bowlers and the batswomen coming to the party to put on a dominant performance. With the aim of at least making the semifinal berth India are unlikely to be stretched by minnows Bangladesh.

Only three sides – Australia, England and New Zealand – have appeared in Women World T20 finals but the emergence of India and South Africa as serious contenders has spiced up the race. Mithali girls stunned Australia 2-1 Down Under in January while South Africa claimed their first-ever T20I win over England last month

The women semi-finals on March 30 and 31 and the final on April 3 will be played in the lead up to the men matches on the same days and at the same venues.