India Women will need to step up their game when they face hosts New Zealand in their second game on Thursday. They beat Pakistan in their Women’s World Cup opener. Mithali Raj’s team is confident, but they must be wary of the Kiwis, who defeated them 4-1 in an ODI series just before the event.
India Women expects more from the seniors
India Women avoided a clean sweep by winning the final game of the series. Although veteran players Mithali and Harmanpreet Kaur were unable to make winning contributions. Shafali Verma, the opener, is visibly struggling with her form. Smriti Mandhana scored a magnificent 52 against Pakistan, although she wasn’t at her most graceful.
Deepti Sharma contributed 40 runs at No. 3, a position better suited to Yastika Bhatia, who scored 58 and 42 runs in the warm-up games against South Africa and the West Indies, respectively.
India Women should strategize the squad ahead of the match
If India is forced to put Yastika in the XI, either Pooja Vastrakar or Sneh Rana, both heroes in India’s victory against Pakistan, will drop. India got saved from embarrassment by their record 122-run seventh-wicket partnership. The two players are also good with bowling if it comes to that. Therefore India Women should weigh their options before planning out the XI.
India Women, on the other hand, will require more from well-known Stars. Mithali smashed a 36-ball 9, while Harmanpreet snatched 5. In the middle overs, the partnership struggled to rotate the strike and kept eating dot balls.
Batting slots 4 and 5 are critical, and this is where a youngster like Yastika might shine in that position. In her limited ODI experience, the left-hander is a free-flowing batter with a strike rate of 73.94.
The Struggle of the Veterans of India Team
Mithali, 39, has been a great servant to Indian cricket and is in excellent form. She has scored nine half-centuries in her last 20 appearances, but only two of them have come in Indian victories.
The skipper is competing in her sixth World Cup and, by current standards, is scoring too slowly. Mithali may be preferred by the opposition to face more balls than Yastika, Richa Ghosh, Sneh, or Pooja.
Harmanpreet, Mithali’s deputy, hit 63 in the penultimate ODI against New Zealand. Her third half-century since the 2017 World Cup final. In the warm-up game against South Africa, she struck a century, but her 14-ball stay at the crease against Pakistan was a catastrophe.
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The Star performers of India Women XI
Apart from Pooja and Sneh, veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami and left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad both contributed to India’s 107-run victory over Pakistan. Rajeshwari returned with amazing figures of 4/31 after skillfully varying her pace and capitalizing on the used surface.
Not to mention Rich, the youthful stumper who shone behind the plate. Five dismissals were attributed to the teenager (four catches and one stumping).
Team India, on the other hand, would love for their seasoned pros Mithali and Harmanpreet to be more proactive and come out firing. India women can’t afford another middle-order meltdown against New Zealand. Unlike Pakistan, the Kiwis aren’t going to let them recover lightly.
A win over New Zealand would give Team India, who finished second in the 2017 and 2005 editions, a major boost.