4th OID: India women look to level series vs SA (Preview)

India women will hope their lower-order batting comes good this time and they are able to challenge South Africa women in the fourth ODI, a game they need to win to stay alive in the five-match series. As of now, the Proteas women lead the series 2-1 and a win on Sunday at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium will seal the series in their favour.

India were coasting along to set up a challenging total against the visitors in the third ODI but failure of the lower-order batsmen to make use of the last five overs restricted them to 249. South Africa batter Lizelle Lee then scored a 131-ball unbeaten 132 to help her team win by six runs under DLS method.

Captain Mithali Raj touched upon the point after the game on Friday, admitting that the lower-order batters need to chip in.

“We are looking at competing with the best (Australia and England). We are looking at 270-plus [to challenge them]…We definitely need to have batters playing the last 10 overs,” said Raj speaking to the media after Friday’s loss.

The ongoing ODI series assumes importance since the Women’s World Cup to be held in New Zealand is less than a year away and India have not played any cricket over the last one year due to Covid-19 pandemic.

India’s selection for this series has also raised some uncomfortable questions. Medium-pacer Shikha Pandey, who was India’s second highest wicket-taker in the 2020 T20 World Cup was left out surprisingly.

SA skipper Sune Luus, who missed the previous game, will return to the squad.

India ODI squad: Mithali Raj (captain), Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Punam Raut, Priya Punia, Yastika Bhatia, Harmanpreet Kaur, D Hemalatha, Deepti Sharma, Sushma Verma (wicket-keeper), Swetha Verma (wicket-keeper), Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Poonam Yadav, C Prathyusha, Monica Patel.

South Africa ODI squad: Sune Luus (captain), Ayabonga Khaka, Shabnim Ismail, Laura Wolvaardt, Trisha Chetty, Sinalo Jafta, Tasmin Britz, Marizanne Kapp, Nondumiso Shangase, Lizelle Lee, Anneke Bosch, Faye Tunnicliffe, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Mignon du Preez, Nadine de Klerk, Lara Goodall, Tumi Sekhukhune.