Same old story continues as complacent India lose series against New Zealand

(Cricket news) India lost the 3rd ODI against New Zealand by 3 wickets and have now lost the series 3-0. The same old problems for the Indian team continues as the fielding and tactics have been a massive let down again. The team selection has to be questioned once again as India went ahead and made 5 changes. 

After missing the 2nd ODI, Jhulan Goswami came back into the side. Sneh Rana who in hindsight should have played the first two games as well due to her performance in Australia came back into the sight along. Taniya Bhatia replaced the injured Richa Ghosh while Ekta Bisht made her international comeback and Renuka Singh Thakur was handed her ODI debut. 

Apart from Ghosh being the forced change, Pooja Vastrakar, Simran Dil Bahadur, Poonam Yadav and Rajeshwari Gayakwad all missed out making the bowling attack completely new. Despite ending their quarantine Smriti Mandhana and Meghna Singh weren't in the side for unknown reasons. Sophie Devine won the toss and elected to bat.

S. Meghna and Shafali Verma gave India a blistering start to the innings as they added 100 runs in just 13 overs. Meghna was dismissed after scoring 61 off just 40 balls hitting some powerful and exquisite strokes while Verma also scored 51 off 57 balls which is slower than she usually plays. Verma adapted to the situation really well as she played 2nd fiddle to her opening partner who was in great touch. India lost Yastika Bhatia, Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Kaur in quick succession and then came Deepti Sharma who scored a fantastic unbeaten run-a-ball 69. She batted with the tail and played to the situation as her innings was exactly what India needed to post a good score of 279. 

Jhulan Goswami got off to a perfect start as she dismissed skipper Sophie Devine for a duck and Susie Bates for 5 in the very next over. What followed can only be described as a combination of loose bowling from India and authoritative batting from Amelia Kerr and Amy Satterthwaite. The pair put together a 103 run partnership with both batters getting to their half-centuries. Mithali Raj brought back her veteran strike bowler and Goswami repaid the faith by getting rid of Satterthwaite. Sneh Rana and Ekta Bisht picked up a wicket each while Renuka Singh Thakur got a scalp on debut to get India right back in the contest.

Deepti Sharma got a crucial wicket towards the end of the innings but it went in vain as New Zealand got over the line comfortably thanks to Lauren Down's unbeaten 64 of 53 balls. Despite the bowlers doing well in phases in a tight game it took New Zealand just 2 big shots towards the end to win. The reason for that apart from bad fielding is the placement of the fielders. The field setting was way too defensive allowing the Kiwi batters to take easy singles and push for doubles again and again. The White Ferns needed just a boundary here and there to win the game which is exactly what they did and won the game with 5 deliveries to spare. Dot ball pressure didn't exist in the 2nd innings because every over had at least one loose ball.

The 5 changes India made were also surprising and what was more surprising is that Smriti Mandhana and Meghna Singh weren't a part of those changes. Poonam Yadav wasn't performing in the 50-over format for a long time and she still played the first two games. Sneh Rana who had an excellent comeback tour in England didn't get a chance against Australia in any T20IS and even the Test despite all-round brilliance in the England Test. The only game she played was the 1st and the 3rd ODI in which she gave a match winning performance.

Harmanpreet Kaur's abysmal performance in the ODIs continues as she once again failed with the willow. Coach Ramesh Powar when asked about the dropping of Shikha Pandey and Jemimah Rodrigues said that there is a yardstick for a player to be in the side. Is that yardstick different for the Indian vice captain because everything suggests that she should be dropped from the side despite everything she has done for Indian women's cricket. Her uniqueness may be what's saving her as it is no secret that she is the pinch hitter in the side who is capable of scoring the back knocks in double quick time.

The blame for that has to go to the captain and the coach for tactics. Allowing easy singles and doubles is asking for trouble especially in the ODI format. India and specifically Mithali Raj the captain has a lot of questions to answer because the performance has been good but the same problems are the reason they end up bottling the games. If this doesn't change in the next two games then it will be red alert time before the World Cup even though it already could be.

It's not that there aren't positives to take away from these 3 ODIs and the T20I so far and the performance of 25-year-old S. Meghna is certainly one of them. Meghna was handed her ODI debut in Mandhana's absence and hasn't disappointed so far as the future looks very bright for her. Deepti Sharma's all-round brilliance has been amazing to watch throughout this series and even in Australia before this. It wouldn't be wrong to say that she is probably India's best and most important player at this moment in time.

The Indian camp has always maintained that this tour is a great preparation for the World Cup but not winning the games and especially winnable games is not helping their cause. A good or decent performance in the remaining two games won't cut it for India as they need 2 wins. Doesn't matter if it is dominant or a close one as a victory would do them a world of good.

Also read: One year since the infamous pitch debate in the India vs England Test series


Share The Article:

Leave A Reply