After a brilliant start to their World Cup campaign, the Indian Women’s team have put themselves under severe pressure by losing the last two games which make their tomorrow’s clash against the Black Caps a must win encounter. The Blue brigade started off tremendously by winning against hosts England and followed it up with victories against West Indies, Pakistan and Sri Lanka but two consecutive losses in the last two matches against the Proteas and the Aussies have pushed them to a corner.
The condition of New Zealand is also the same and they also must win tomorrow’s clash to book a place in the semi finals. England and Australia have already booked their semi final places with 10 points while South Africa is the 3rd team who have already qualified for the last four so the contention for the last spot lies between New Zealand and India so whoever wins tomorrow goes through.
The form of free flowing opener Smriti Mandhana might well be a concern for the Indian team after the southpaw started off the tournament with some sensational knocks but haven’t quite got going in the last 3 matches which have also led to India’s downfall. Punam Raut, on the other hand, has looked solid and her century in the previous match against the Aussies will surely give her a lot of confidence.
The middle order hasn’t been performing well and apart from a few innings here and there it has looked brittle. Captain Mithali Raj has played pretty well in the tournament so far but their inability to hit the big shots have haunted them in the middle overs which haven’t allowed them to amass match-winning scores especially after batting first.
The bowling department has gone for a stick in the last two matches but has performed reasonably well considering the full tournament. Jhulan Goswami has bowled well upfront but has gone for runs in the middle overs and the death. So with a must win game coming up, the Blue brigade will surely look to come all guns blazing a book a place in the semi-finals.
Squad: (From): Punam Raut, Smriti Mandhana, Mithali Raj(c), Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Sushma Verma(w), Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, Deepti Sharma, Ekta Bisht, Poonam Yadav, Nuzhat Parween, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Mansi Joshi, Mona Meshram
The Kiwis have played well in patches but haven’t been the best side of the tournament under any stress of imagination. They began with a resounding victory over the islanders Sri Lanka by brushing them aside by 9 wickets but got a reality check in the 3rd match after getting thrashed at the hands of neighbours Australia.
Suzi Bates has been their stand out performer for years and she has done justice to her reputation while Rachael Priest has been her ideal foil opening the batting. Their middle order hasn’t been consistent enough in the tournament but they have to fire cylinders if New Zealand harbours any hope of going through to the final four.
The bowling line up looks pretty settled and has troubled quite a few teams in the tournament. With the Indian batting line-up not able to break free in the middle overs, the onus will be on the Kiwis bowlers to pin them down which might bring about the downfall of experienced batters like Mithali Raj.
Squad: Suzie Bates(c), Rachel Priest(w), Amy Satterthwaite, Katey Martin, Sophie Devine, Katie Perkins, Erin Bermingham, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Lea Tahuhu, Holly Huddleston, Anna Peterson, Hannah Rowe, Maddy Green, Thamsyn Newton