In the pre-Covid era, touring teams used to get plenty of time to acclimatise themselves before the start of a series, but in the wake of COVID-19, things have become far more challenging for them. During the post-match presentation (first ODI), India skipper Mithali Raj touched upon how the lack of preparation due to extended quarantine leading into the ongoing series has had a debilitating effect on the team. On the contrary, the White Ferns have utilised the home conditions well so far and have looked more battle-hardened than the visitors, having had significant game time at the Super Smash in the lead up.
What’s at stake?
Having trounced the visitors in the first ODI, the challenge for the White Ferns is to carry the winning momentum forward. Skipper Sophie Devine’s astute brilliance in the field was on show in the last game as she made some excellent bowling changes and was backed up really well by her bowlers.
The first ODI gave us a glimpse of the depth the White Ferns have in their side as they outclassed India in all the departments. Suzie Bates, who couldn’t even manage a half-century in the last ODI series (away) against England, was the enforcer for her side and toyed with the Indian bowling attack. With her eyes set on the elusive silverware (50 over World Cup), she made a conscious decision to opt-out of the Women’s Big Bash League and has focused entirely on playing as many games as possible in home conditions.
Amy Satterthwaite was also at her fluent best as she struck a well-compiled half-century and piled on India’s misery. Bates and Satterthwaite rotated the strike with ease and played some breathtaking shots to put the White Ferns in the ascendancy.
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The White Ferns’ bowling attack applied unrelenting pressure on the Indian batters and never allowed them to stamp their authority on the game. Medium-pacer Jess Kerr, in particular, was too hot to handle for the Indian batters as she bagged a four-wicket haul and didn’t take her foot off the pedal.
On the other hand, the visitors haven’t had much to write home about thus far, and hence the second ODI will present them with an opportunity to turn the tide. India wore a depleted look in the first one-dayer as Smriti Mandhana, Meghana Singh, and Renuka Singh were not available for selection due to MIQ (Managed Isolation Quarantine).
Although the absence of several key players in the Indian side has provided some of the non-regular faces with the opportunity to rise to the occasion, to expect that they will manage to punch above their weight seems too much of an ask.
The Indian bowling attack made a praiseworthy comeback against the run of play in the fag end of the White Ferns’ innings. But the Indian batters failed to capitalize on the momentum as the wheels of their run chase fell off as soon as skipper Mithali was dismissed.
With only a few games remaining after the one on Tuesday, it’s all about peaking at the right time for team India.
What they said:
“It can vary at times, obviously being in that one-day role is slightly different to opening the batting. So, for me it is just probably getting a few hits in the nets and may be a few technical things if I feel that there might be changes in the opposition and who I might come up against. It's pretty light, I think I have done all the work leading in to you know, hit enough balls in my career and over the summer to know that one more net session isn't necessarily gonna change how I play tomorrow or the next day,”
– Sophie Devine on how she trains ahead of a game.
Players to watch out for:
Suzie Bates: The 34-year old veteran batter was in sublime touch in the first ODI as she notched up her 11th ODI ton. She struck 106 runs at an impressive strike rate of 95.49 and proved yet again why she is the mainstay of the White Ferns’ batting order. The batting stalwart played the anchor’s role to perfection in the last game, which helped the batters around her as they fed off her energy.
Yastika Bhatia: The southpaw has shown glimpses of her batting prowess on the international stage already and is one of the most promising batters coming up the ranks. She looked steady throughout her stay at the crease in the first ODI before holing out to deep square leg. She has a wide range of shots in her arsenal and will be itching to unleash them in the second ODI and lead India’s fightback.
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Head to head: New Zealand 29 – 19 India
- Mithali Raj has aggregated the most number of runs (1057) in New Zealand vs. India ODI clashes at an average of 44.04.
- Jhulan Goswami has bagged 43 wickets, the most by any bowler in the history of New Zealand vs. India encounters (ODIs).
India: Mithali Raj (c), Sabbhineni Meghana, Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia, Harmanpreet Kaur, Richa Ghosh (wk), Deepti Sharma, Pooja Vastrakar, Jhulan Goswami, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav
New Zealand: Sophie Devine (c), Suzie Bates, Maddy Green, Amelia Kerr, Amy Satterthwaite, Brooke Halliday, Katey Martin (wk), Hayley Jensen, Lea Tahuhu, Hannah Rowe, Jess Kerr