Women’s World Cup: India wants to build up a winning streak, faces a tough test against New Zealand

India will look to build a winning streak at the 2022 ICC Women’s World Cup when they meet hosts New Zealand in their second match of the tournament at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Thursday 10 March.

India enter the competition with a dominant win over Pakistan in the opening game. India overcame a usual top batting performance to outclass the Pakistani women on Sunday, but a tough test awaits them as the White Ferns will be keen to avoid further slips after their opening defeat by the West Indies.

The pitch at Hamilton’s Seddon Park is traditionally known as the batting belter and Mithali Raj and her team would like to put on a better show against Sophie Devine’s side who beat India 4-1 in a recently concluded ODI series in New Zealand.

India managed to win the last ODI, a dead rubber against New Zealand and go on a 4 match winning run, but they were extensively outplayed by the White Ferns in the first 5 matches including a one off T20i on their tour.

In fact, the Indians learned a hard lesson in the previous ODI series, where they couldn’t even defend totals of 270 and 280.

India will hope opener Shafali Verma returns to form as the top order has lacked firepower, although Smriti Mandhana has made a step up in the recent past. In the last seven games, including a practice game, she has only had a fifty and a six.

“Shafali has already proven himself. She is a very exciting cricketer. But things like that happen to every cricketer,” senior pacer Jhulan Goswami said on the eve of the game against New Zealand.

“I’m sure she works very well in the nets, she hits the nets well, she hits the ball really well.

“She’s just a big punch away and if she gets an opportunity I’m sure she’ll do well,” she added.

CAN MITHALI AND HARMANPREET RISE?

Even Skipper Mithali was stuck against Pakistan, while Harmanpreet Kaur, apart from half a century in the inconsequential Dead Rubber against New Zealand, was no longer cooking.

India’s problems were often compounded by their inability to turn the bat in the middle overs, leaving far too much for the slog overs where they often lacked power hitters.

India’s greatest strength is her all-rounders – Deepti Sharma, Sneh Rana and Puja Vastrakar who can turn a bad show into a brilliant end result.

However, it will not be easy against New Zealand, who have Devine, Suzie Bates, Amy Satterthwaite and Amelia Kerr in their ranks.

Goswami, who has been in superb form over the past year, needs support from the other end with a consistent show from the likes of Meghna Singh and Vastrakar.

However, it will all come down to how well the spinners – Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Rana and Deepti – bowl against the New Zealanders. A good result will erase the nightmare of the recent ODI series and boost India’s confidence for the rest of the tournament.

IND vs. NZ, WOMEN’S WORLD CUP SQUAD

India: Mithali Raj (c), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Harmanpreet Kaur, Yastika Bhatia, Deepti Sharma, Pooja Vastrakar, Rich Ghosh (wk), Taniya Bhatia (wk), Sneh Rana, Meghna Singh, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Jhulan Goswami, Renuka Singh.

New Zealand: Sophie Devine (c), Amy Satterthwaite (vc), Suzie Bates, Maddy Green, Brooke Halliday, Hayley Jensen, Fran Jonas, Jess Kerr, Amelia Kerr, Frances Mackay, Rosemary Mair, Katey Martin, Georgia Plimmer, Hannah Rowe , Lea Tahuhu. (With PTI inputs)

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