Cricket

Stage set for an engrossing decider

After a see-saw tussle, India and New Zealand are set for an engrossing decider in their women’s One-Day International series at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Wednesday.

The home team had been under the cosh before bouncing back spectacularly to win the fourth match, due in no small part to Mithali Raj’s rapid 81. India’s batting had looked flimsy without a significant contribution from its mainstay. Mithali’s knock, and Smriti Mandhana’s half-century at the top of the order, made a chase of 221 look like a doddle.

“In the last game, we played within our shells, because we had lost early wickets,” the captain said afterwards. “The middle-order was playing under a lot of pressure. We didn’t use our footwork. Whereas today the girls were confidently stepping out and playing the spinners.”

India will thus feel bullish about securing a first ODI series victory since January 2014, when it blanked Sri Lanka 3-0 at home.

The leggie Poonam Yadav, who replaced Ekta Bisht in the side, may have been expensive, but Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Harmanpreet Kaur were excellent as the Kiwis struggled against their spin.

For New Zealand, this is an opportunity to claim a maiden ODI series win in India. Sophie Devine played a fine innings on Monday, but a heap of wickets in the final few overs — and good batting by the opposition — condemned her side to defeat.

“This has sort of set the benchmark. We’re going to have to score 250 if Mithali and the batters bat the way they did today,” she said later.

The visitors may have won two of the first three games, which alone carried ICC Women’s Championship points, but Devine insisted that the job was not done.

“Before we came away we spoke about winning this series and it was never just about the points,” she said. “We’re really driven to win this series. To claim a series win over here in India would be fantastic.”

The teams (from):

India: Mithali Raj (capt.), Jhulan Goswami, Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Poonam Raut, Shikha Pandey, M.D. Thirushkamini, R. Kalpana, Veda Krishnamurthy, Deepti Sharma, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Ekta Bisht, Sneh Rana, Poonam Yadav and N. Niranjana.

New Zealand: Suzie Bates (capt.), Kate Broadmore, Sophie Devine, Natalie Dodd, Maddy Green, Georgia Guy, Leigh Kasperek, Morna Nielson, Katie Perkins, Anna Peterson, Rachel Priest, Hannah Rowe, Amy Satterthwaite and Lea Tahuhu.

Mithali to lead

Mithali Raj will lead India in the three-match Twenty20 series against New Zealand women’s team at the Chinnaswamy Stadium here on July 11, 13 and 15.

The team (from): Mithali Raj (captain), Jhulan Goswami, Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Veda Krishnamurthy, Shikha Pandey, Sushma Verma, V.R. Vanitha, Latika Kumari, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Ekta Bisht, Sneh Rana, Poonam Yadav, Anuja Patil and S. Shubhlakshmi.


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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 1:09:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/new-zealand-womens-cricket-tour-of-india-india-womennew-zealand-women-odi-series/article7396072.ece

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