India look to avoid clean sweep by New Zealand ahead of World Cup (preview)

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India will be looking to avoid a 5-0 clean sweep when they face New Zealand in the fifth and final ODI at the John Davies Oval on Thursday.

The match will be India’s last game in the format before they jump into the warm-up and main competition of the Women’s Cricket World Cup. The batting and bowling haven’t clicked together for India in all four losses, leaving them with more worry points than solutions.

Bowling, in particular, is a huge worry if one goes by Mithali Raj’s words after losing a truncated fourth ODI by 63 runs. “But to be honest the bowling is a bit of a concern before the World Cup. We want all our main bowlers to get their rhythm. We are adapting to the conditions but there are spells where the bowlers have bowled well but we are not consistent and it is something that we are looking to improve.”

The spinners, barring Deepti Sharma, have been far from convincing. The pace attack also needs to shrug off inconsistency. Apart from the unit failing to click in unison, they have also been overpowered by the all-round brilliance of Amelia Kerr. But the positive aspect for India has been the form of wicketkeeper-batter Richa Ghosh and Mithali showing some glimpses of consistency.

New Zealand, on the other hand, will be delighted with how the series and their experimentations have turned out. Their top batters, Amelia alongside Suzie Bates and captain Sophie Devine, have been impressive. The lower-order, featuring Lauren Down and Katey Martin, have proved that they can finish matches when the top-order may not step up to the occasion.

Apart from Amelia’s six wickets, her sister Jess Kerr has been great with seven wickets. She has been well supported by Hayley Jensen (five wickets) and skipper Sophie (four wickets) in ticking all the right boxes. India will be hoping that the unit clicks together to get their first win in the country and snap the winless streak.

The match will be aired live on Amazon Prime Video for the Indian audience at 3:30am IST.

Squads

India: Sabbhineni Meghana, Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia, Mithali Raj (captain), Harmanpreet Kaur, Richa Ghosh (wicket-keeper), Deepti Sharma, Pooja Vastrakar, Simran Bahadur, Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Sneh Rana, Meghna Singh, Taniya Bhatia (wicket-keeper), Renuka Singh, Smriti Mandhana and Jhulan Goswami.

New Zealand: Sophie Devine (captain), Suzie Bates, Amelia Kerr, Amy Satterthwaite, Maddy Green, Katey Martin (wicket-keeper), Hayley Jensen, Jess Kerr, Rosemary Mair, Fran Jonas, Lea Tahuhu, Lauren Down, Frances Mackay and Hannah Rowe.

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