Cricket

India eyes third victory against NZ

Sensational: The 16-year-old Shafali Verma has been a standout with the bat for India.

Sensational: The 16-year-old Shafali Verma has been a standout with the bat for India.   | Photo Credit: Courtesy: ICC

Team has been impressive both in batting, bowling, takes on NZ

On a high after two victories on the trot, including one against defending champion Australia, the Indian women’s cricket will aim to inch closer to a semifinal berth when it takes on New Zealand in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup here on Thursday.

India hardly broke a sweat during its 17-run and 18-run wins over host Australia and Bangladesh in its previous two matches and is perched atop the five-team Group A standings with four points from two matches.

A victory against New Zealand on Thursday will take the Harmanpreet Kaur-led side on the threshold of a knock-out stage spot, to be competed among the top two teams from Groups A and B.

India has been impressive both in batting and bowling in its two matches.

The 16-year-old sensation Shafali Verma has been a standout with the bat. She scored a whirlwind 17-ball 39 against Bangladesh, following 29 against Australia.

No. 3 Jemmiah Rodrigues has also been among the runs with knocks of 26 and 34.

Among the top order, only captain Harmanpreet has not scored many runs and is due for a big innings.

Smriti set to return

India is also likely to be bolstered by the return of star opener Smriti Mandhana, who missed the match against Bangladesh due to fever.

The middle order has also done its bit with Deepti Sharma playing a major role against Australia with an unbeaten 49 while Veda Krishnamurthy hit a match-defining 11-ball 20 not out for a late flourish against Bangladesh.

The bowling has been led admirably by seasoned leg-spinner Poonam Yadav — seven wickets in two matches — with pacer Shikha Pandey ably supporting her with five scalps.

New Zealand, though, has a better head-to-head record against India in recent years, having won the last three matches between the two sides.

Exactly a year ago, it defeated India 3-0 in a three-match T20I series at home.

India will, however, remember its 34-run win over New Zealand in the previous edition in 2018 in the West Indies. Harmanpreet had struck a memorable 103 to lead her side to victory.

Top-class players

New Zealand has some top-class players in its ranks in the form of captain and all-rounder Sophie Devine and top-order batswoman Suzie Bates. Pacer Lea Tahuhu and leg-spinner Amelia Kerr will lead the bowling department.

The team will go into this match on a high after an easy seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka on Saturday. Devine had led from the front with an unbeaten 75 off 55 balls at the top of the order.

The teams (from):

India: Harmanpreet Kaur (Capt.), Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Shafali Verma, Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Harleen Deol, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Richa Ghosh, Veda Krishnamurthy, Shikha Pandey, Arundhati Reddy and Pooja Vastrakar.

New Zealand: Sophie Devine (Capt.), Rosemary Mair, Amelia Kerr, Suzie Bates, Lauren Down, Maddy Green, Holly Huddleston, Hayley Jensen, Leigh Kasperek, Jess Kerr, Katey Martin (wk), Katie Perkins, Anna Peterson, Rachel Priest and Lea Tahuhu.

Match Starts at 9:30 a.m. IST.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 4:29:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/india-eyes-third-victory/article30925354.ece

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