The Cricket World Cup has been going on in full swing where India started their world cup campaign convincingly against Pakistan with a win. New Zealand, on the other hand, narrowly missed out to win against the West Indies. India has last faced the Kiwis in February for a 5-match ODI series, where the hosts won the series 4-1. India will learn from that experience and exposure.
India resembled a fragile team against the Kiwis considering the way they crippled down in the bilateral series back in February. Amelia Kerr stood as the difference between both sides. All the department were visibly struggling in their own ways. When it comes to India’s top order, Shafali Verma’s form saw a downfall in the entire series. Smriti Mandhana’s absence in the first few matches let other players take responsibility.
Players like Yastika Bhatia and Shabbineni Meghana played well to fill in her shoes. Mithali Raj was at her fluent best in the number four slot. Deepti Sharma has the ability to take it deep, she can build partnerships and let her partner have a free hand to play by holding the pressure at one end. Down the order Richa Ghosh can be powerful striker of the ball, she can play those attacking shots towards the final over of the match.
Players like Pooja Vastrakar can also stitch useful partnerships like the one in the previous match where her partnership with Sneh Rana took the game away from Pakistan. This powerful duo has the ability and skill to accelerate at the end overs and keep the scoreboard ticking. The fielding was spot on in the previous match, India will try to carry that momentum further.
Indian bowling department made a comeback to show its accuracy and skill in its first match in the tournament. The pacers ensured they didn’t leak runs in the power play overs and pressurized batters by bowling economical spells. The spinners struck in the middle overs and the core part of the batting lineup took a blow. Deepti, Sneh Rana and Rajeswari will continue to execute the bowl their bowling duties. The bowling lineup for this match will be unchanged while roping in Yastika Bhatia in place of Shafali Verma as an opener will only bring stability and depth to the batting order.
New Zealand, meanwhile, have a long batting order till the 8th batter in the lineup. The Indian bowlers have a humongous task to confront the depth of the Kiwi batters. Once a solid partnership is formed it takes persistent bowling with accuracy to get a breakthrough. They also have a huge lineup of all-rounders and the captain is able to utilize up to a minimum of 6 bowlers in both the matches of the world cup.
New Zeland made constant changes to the bowling lineup, but Lea Tahuhualong with Jess Kerr still leads the pace attack while Amelia Kerr pitches in leg break in the middle order. Amy Satterthwaite in the last match against Bangladesh bowled a sensational spell to limit Bangladesh to a score of 140 runs. Frances Mackay picked a wicket and effected two run-outs.
The batting middle order is still vulnerable if they can’t beat the spinners which will eventually lead to a collapse. India has a good spin attack, only when they negate it like the one bi-lateral series, do they stand a chance to post a huge total when they bat first. This kiwis squad has enough depth in bowling too that has defended both small and big scores against India effectively.
If India can hold their nerve they have the chance to go the distance. New Zealand will just have to fit in its heavy all-round lineup at proper places to be superior tomorrow. Both teams stay on an equal pedestal while those exhibiting skill, execution and accuracy will take the honours of a win.
Predicted playing XI:
New Zealand: Sophie Devine (C), Suzie Bates, Amelia Kerr, Amy Satterthwaite, Maddy Green, Frances Mackay, Katey Martin (WK), Hayley Jensen, Lea Tahuhu, Jess Kerr, Hannah Rowe
India: Smriti Mandhana, Yastika Bhatia, Deepti Sharma, Mithali Raj (C), Harmanpreet Kaur, Richa Ghosh (WK), Sneh Rana, Pooja Vastrakar, Jhulan Goswami, Meghna Singh, Rajeshwari Gayakwad