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A tough task for the Indian team in their opening fixture.

The Indian women’s basketball team is up against Japan in the opening match of the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup. The task at hand won’t be easy for India as Japan are the five-time defending champions. Moreover, they have also picked up a silver medal in the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics and will be looking to carry forward the good momentum.

Japan is currently the 8th ranked team in the world and have been in fine form before Asia Cup. Coach Tom Hovasse had really invigorated the team and made them a strong challenger for any opponent during his tenure with the squad. Their performance in the Olympics speaks for itself where they finished in second place in their group. From then on Japan went to rack up victories against European giants like France and Belgium. Only losing in the end to the US in the finals.

The victory meant that Japan became the first Asian nation to earn a medal in women’s Olympic basketball. The last one to do so was China in 1992. In addition, it was Japan’s first medal in basketball and they will look to continue their good form in the Asia Cup 2021.

India will aim to give though competition

India is facing Japan in Asia Cup

On the opposite side stands India who would be aiming to spoil the party. India ranked 70th in the world but haven’t been able to put some strong performances in Asia Cup. Although the Indian team topped their division in 2017 to qualify for the next stages, the 2019 edition was another story. The women’s team lost all their matches and as a result, finished right at the bottom.

The Indian team will therefore need to shake off the rust if they hope to do well against four-time defending champions Japan. Indian coach Zoran will need to make sure that his team delivers. He will heavily depend on some of his key players like captain Shireen Limaye, Stephy Nixon, Madhu Kumari and Navaneetha Pattemane.

Venue: Amman, Jordan

Probable India Lineup: Vaishnavi Yadav, Sruthi Arvind, Stephy Nixon, Sathiya Senthil, Navaneetha Pattemane, Sreekala Rani, Anumaria Chenganamatthathil, Shireen Limaye, Sahana Shivamogga, Pushpa Senthil, Madhu Kamari, Nishanthi Masumaman

Probable Japan Lineup : Nanako Todo, Saki Hayashi, Saori Miyazaki, Himawari Akaho, Monica Okoye, Stephanie Mawuli, Kiho Miyashita, Moe Nagata, Tamami Nakada, Haruno Nemoto, Risa Nishioka, Ririka Okuyama, Mai Yamamoto.

Timing: 12:30 pm IST

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