Match Report | New Zealand vs India | 4th ODI | All-round Amelia won the 20-over ODI game for the White Ferns
Written By: Ritwika Dhar
Picture Courtesy: Getty Images
New Zealand have already won the ODI series by 3-0. But before the World Cup, no match is going to be less important from the preparation point of view. India were eyeing to win the last two match to gain some confidence and winning momentum before heading into the World Cup.
Because of the heavy downpour in Queenstown, the match had been reduced to 20 overs per side. India won the toss and opted to field first to utilize the overcast conditions. And India made quite some changes. For the first time in this series, India fielded 3 pacers Renuka, Meghna, and Pooja. But last match’s star with the ball Jhulan Goswami was rested. Also, Indian opener Smriti Mandhana came back into the XI in place of S. Meghana. Left-armer Gayakwad came in place of Bisht. And Indian vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur was also rested in this match who was going through a very lean patch in the ODIs. But surprisingly, Deepti Sharma was given the responsibility for vice-captaincy instead of Mandhana who is the VC of India in T20I and had been Raj’s deputy in Kaur’s absence. Deepti will be the vice-captain in the last ODI as well.
India are trying various bowling combinations in every match so far. The way they have given match exposure to every member of the squad already, it seemed they are giving a captaincy exposure as well by making Deepti the VC. The Kiwis rested Tahuhu and injured Green and brought back Hayley Jensen and Jess Kerr to the side.
Kiwi batting powered through India’s scattered bowling and fielding efforts
Meghna Singh came back to the side after her MIQ and opened the bowling against the Smash-sisters, Devine, and Bates. New Zealand were underway with back-to-back fours from Devine’s bat. Both the openers went after the Indian pacers. They already reached 50 before the end of the powerplay. From there, Smriti Mandhana took a stunning catch at point and Renuka dismissed the dangerous Devine.
New Zealand continued their attacking game. Amelia Kerr joined Bates in the middle and put up another partnership of 31. But Richa Ghosh showcased a brilliant piece of stumping in Gayakwad’s bowling to dismiss Bates on 41 (26). New Zealand were 84-2 in 9.2 overs. Satterthwaite came in and played a brilliant cameo of 32 in just 16 balls that consisted of 3 fours and two back-to-back sixes. Meghna cleaned up her up, eventually. But then, it was the Kerr-show that took India by storm. She reached her 50 in the penultimate over and finished the innings with a boundary. Her 68* off 33 led New Zealand to 191-5 in 20 overs.
Again, India’s sloppy fielding cost them badly. Meghna Singh and Deepti Sharma went for 45 and 49 in their 4 overs quota. Overall, Indian bowling looked helpless in front of a well-organized and hard-hitting host of Kiwi batters.
Richa, the only glimmer of hope amidst a sorry chase
India needed to make some changes. And they dropped S. Meghana to make place for Smriti Mandhana and rested the VC Harmanpreet Kaur. But, in a 20 over ODI game, where they actually needed the hard hitters like them, the changes backfired. Mandhana walked out to bat with Verma. New Zealand also interestingly started with Mackay’s spin. And the ploy worked well. She scalped out the wicket of Verma on the last ball of the 1st over with a bumper and Verma couldn’t control it. Bates took a sharp catch at mid-wicket.
In the next over, new batter Yastika too didn’t look comfortable against the short ball, and Bates again, made no mistake underneath it. Vastrakar was promoted to no. 4 to make full use of the powerplay. But her stay was also not long as India lost 3 wickets in 3 overs. Devine was mixing up her bowlers well to not let the Indian batters settle on the crease. Mandhana in her 1st outing was looking good. She struck two boundaries before getting out on 13 off 15. Mandhana again got out to her go-to shot. She pulled the ball but didn’t get the placement correct and Amelia Kerr didn’t make any mistake.
Indian innings completely derailed with 19/4 when Richa Ghosh came into bat. She joined her captain who retired from the T20I format in 2019. Both of them had a huge challenge on their hand and Richa started off well with a boundary on the 1st delivery she faced. And she was not only hitting but also taking aggressive singles and doubles brilliantly. Raj also took the backseat and was giving her the strike in every possible way. Richa was finding the boundaries regularly and went on to score another 50 in this series and this was the fastest 50 for India in the women’s ODIs. She tonked 4 boundaries and 4 sixes and in trying to hit another, she got out on 52 off 29 in the 13th over. Jensen put an end to her outstanding innings.
Mithali who was the silent contributor in the 77-run partnership with Richa took the role of aggressor after Richa’s departure. She dispatched the very first ball after the wicket for a six. But Jess Kerr knocked her over pretty soon. Amelia Kerr, who was having a great day on the field, took India’s last 3 wickets in her just one over. Indian Innings fell short by 63 runs and they continue to remain winless on this tour.
New Zealand – 191/5 (20); A. Kerr 68* (33), S. Bates 41 (26); R. Singh Thakur 2/33 (4), R. Gayakwad 1/26 (4)
India – 128 (17.5); R. Ghosh 52 (29), M. Raj 30 (28); A. Kerr 3/30 (3.5), H. Jensen 3/32 (4)
Has BCCI done enough? Does team India’s performance reflect the lack of investment by the board, both financially and strategically in the Women’s Cricket set-up?
After winning 6 consecutive ODI series in the period of 2018-19, India have now lost 4 series on the trot in the last 1 year. Are they lacking the winning mentality? Winning is a habit, so is losing. Yes, India have plenty of problems in their game. But, have the problems been addressed the way they should have been?
India’s fielding coaches have been chopped and changed very much in recent times. Even the head coaches haven’t got a longer rope. The good addition in the last two series and especially for the World Cup has been a batting coach and a psychologist. From the days when Mithali and Jhulan used to be the batting and bowling mentors of the team besides playing, things have changed a lot. But, to address specific issues, where they needed specific camps on bowling, fielding, batting, India didn’t even get basic practice or training sessions before the New Zealand tour. In 2018, there was a wicket-keeping session at NCA with Kiran More. Where are those now?
Barring the Women’s T20 Challenge, Indian domestic players have not been getting any Under-23 or T20 tournaments. From the questionable system to the shambolic selection, where the selectors don’t clarify the reasons for not picking some players really makes the situation grimmer. India are struggling in the fielding department, from having one of the best bowling attacks who could easily bundle up the opponents under 150-200 are struggling to take each wicket, but there is no clear clarification as to why an experienced Shikha Pandey or a gun fielder Jemimah Rodrigues is not in the squad.
The decline is real, and both the players and the system are equally responsible for it.