It is less than a month away from the most awaited ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022, as India take on WHITE FERNS in a six-match series that includes 1 T201 and 5 ODIs. It would be the best practice that both teams can get before they clash with other teams in the WC (starting March 4) and once again face each other on March 10th.
A week back, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) had announced a few changes to the dates of the first three encounters of the ODI fixtures of the series. The ODIs now start from 12th Feb instead of 11th Feb, while the one-off T20 continues to be played on February 9. Considering the COVID-19 restrictions and precautions, all the matches will be played at the same venue John Davies Oval in Queenstown. The T201 match will start at 1 PM local time (5:30 AM IST) and the ODI matches will start at 11 AM local time (3:30 AM IST).
India would prefer to rely on their great success of the last visit to NZ in 2019, where they dominated and won the ODI series 2-1, while they lost the T201 series 3-0. However, ahead of the world cup, the focus surely will be on ODIs. India has not managed to come back to their best form ever since they are back after the pandemic break, with a recent series loss against Australia, England and South Africa.
New Zealand too hasn’t managed to live up to their potential recently in the ODIs. Their last successful ODI series win was against Ireland way back in 2018. They would however bank on their memories of the home World cup win back in 2000.
From the Indian squad, Smriti Mandhana will be very keen to get back to the crease and continue with her heroic form in the last series in NZ where she got a match-winning hundred and a ninety. Another factor for a winning performance in the last NZ series was the consistency and success of spin trio Deepti Sharma, Ekta Bisht and Poonam Yadav.
A lot will depend upon the playing XI since, India have firmed up their seam attack for the NZ conditions with the inclusion of Meghna Singh, Renuka Singh Thakur and Pooja Vastrakar apart from veteran Jhulan Goswami. It will also be interesting to see how India setup up the team composition and utilize the young talent of Simran Dil Bahadur & Sabbhinenj Meghana. New Zealand will bank on the very dependable, consistent and in-form Sophie Devine. She is in her prime form and has shown the capability of winning matches single handedly.
The NZ captain during the last tour of India, Amy Satterthwaite will also be eager to get back to runs. She had a good tour last up with 2 fifties at the top. NZ team will also be making full use of this series to test the new players in the squad and identify the best playing XI combination.
India squad for one-off T201: Harmanpreet Kaur (C), Smriti Mandhana (VC), Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh (wk), Sneh Rana, Pooja Vastrakar, Meghna Singh, Renuka Singh Thakur, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht, S. Meghana, Simran Dil Bahadur.
India squad for ODIs: Mithali Raj (C), Harmanpreet Kaur (VC), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia, Deepti Sharma, Richa Ghosh (wk), Sneh Rana, Jhulan Goswami, Pooja Vastrakar, Meghna Singh, Renuka Singh Thakur, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Sabbhineni Meghana, Ekta Bisht, Simran Dil Bahadur
New Zealand squad: Sophie Devine (C), Amy Satterthwaite, Suzie Bates, Lauren Down, Maddy Green, Brooke Halliday, Hayley Jensen, Fran Jonas, Jess Kerr, Amelia Kerr, Frances Mackay, Rosemary Mair, Katey, Martin, Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu