Indian women fail to defend 271 Vs New Zealand despite picking up early wickets

(Cricket news) Indian women lost the 2nd ODI against New Zealand by 3 wickets. They now trail the 5-match series 2-0 which makes the next match a series decider. India were without Smriti Mandhana, Meghna Singh and Renuka Singh Thakur as the trio got out of their quarantine during the game and should be back for the next one. Jhulan Goswami was also not in the playing XI for unknown reasons and was replaced by Simran Dil Bahadur who made her ODI debut. New Zealand rested Sophie Devine. Mithali Raj elected to bat first after winning the toss.

After a quiet start S. Meghna and Shafali Verma started playing a few shots and taking on the bowlers. India were consistently keeping the scoreboard ticking despite losing wickets at regular intervals. S. Meghna fell 1 run short of her half century at the top while Verma and Bhatia 21 and 34 respectively. Harmanpreet Kaur's abysmal international form continued as she hit a full toss straight to the only inner leg side fielder  at short midwicket. Winning the player of the tournament at the WBBL seems to have not changed her luck or her touch in blue colors whatsoever. Mithali Raj then did what she has been doing for over two decades as the skipper steadied the ship, anchored the innings and scored an unbeaten 66 off 81 deliveries. 

Raj has always received criticism for her approach and strike which is sometimes unfair considering that is her role in the team. She is surrounded by big hitters who like to take on bowlers in the side. All the top order batters in the Indian side score runs at a higher rate and the Indian captain compliments them very well by holding the crease, rotating the strike and being there till the end. This time around she was well complimented by Richa Ghosh who scored a run a ball 65 consisting of some big powerful strokes. India managed 270 runs giving their  bowlers a decent target to work with. 

Jhulan Goswami was definitely going to be missed, especially when India had only two seamers out of whom Simran Dil Bahadur only bowled 3 overs that too between the 15th and 20th over. Mithali Raj backed her spinners who did a decent job. Deepti Sharma bowled exceptionally well as she picked up the first wicket and ended the match with the figures of 4/52 off her 10 overs. Amelia Kerr led the run chase with her 119 off 135 balls while Maddy Green provided great support with her 61 ball 52. Indian bowlers once again failed to contain runs when needed which is where Mithali Raj's decision of not bringing in fielders to new batters is also questionable. Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Harmanpreet Kaur picked up a wicket each but were also easy for the white ferns to pick runs from. 

India's fielding was outright poor throughout the innings. Wicketkeeper Taniya Bhatia was substituted after Rifha Ghosh had a niggle on her leg. Bhatia who is usually excellent behind the stumps dropped two catches which should have been taken. Fielders in the deep couldn't stop the doubles as their throws were never strong enough and needed to go through an inner circle fielder. Even though the women in blue picked up two very good catches and a good stumping the sloppiness outweighed it completely. 

India play to save the series in a couple of days time where finally Smriti Mandhana and Meghna Singh along with Jhulan Goswami can come back to make the Indian side full strength. Unlike the first one the match was pretty close which is a good thing for India who were without at least 3 key players. They now need to start getting results because just good performances won't cut it especially at the World Cup. 

Also read: India look for another whitewash Vs West Indies as they gear up for the T20s


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