With series on the line, India seek to win third match against New Zealand (preview)

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The build-up of the Indian team to the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup early next month in New Zealand hasn’t gone according to the plan. The Mithali Raj-led side, after losing the first two matches in five-match series, now seeks to win the third ODI at the John Davies Oval on Friday to avoid conceding the series to hosts New Zealand.

The visitors’ will be encouraged by the fact that Smriti Mandhana, Renuka Singh and Meghna Singh are out of extended MIQ (Mandatory Isolation and Quarantine) stay and will be available for the do-or-die match. India will be hoping that Jhulan Goswami, who missed out on the second ODI due to a neck issue, will be available for Friday’s match.

The batting had some improvement from the first ODI as India posted 270 in the second match. Though Deepti Sharma took 4/52, it wasn’t enough for India to stop New Zealand from winning the match.

Mithali Raj has been the glue in the batting order which has looked to attack more while youngster Richa Ghosh’s quickfire 65 augured well for the middle-order though no word has come on her ankle injury. S Meghana has been a welcome addition at the top in Smriti’s absence and it remains to be seen where she bats as Smriti returns.

The visitors’ will be hoping that Harmanpreet Kaur gets some runs under her belt after a stop-start 2021 due to injuries and Covid-19 infection. Another aspect which India will be looking to tighten is picking wickets in middle overs. But with Meghna and Renuka available for selection, India have now got options to experiment which will be their best middle overs bowling options ahead of the World Cup.

For New Zealand, there is little to worry about. Amelia Kerr’s scintillating century in the second match was a proof of their experiments ahead of the mega event proving to be a masterstroke. Suzie Bates scored a hundred in the first match and will hope that captain Sophie Devine gets some more runs as well. Jess Kerr’s form with the new ball has been impressive for the White Ferns to make inroads with the new ball.

The match starts at 3:30 am IST and will be streamed live on Amazon Prime Video in India.

Squads:

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

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

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