An inept batting performance by India led to an all-too familiar surrender against New Zealand as the Mithali Raj-led side went down by 62 runs in its second league stage match of the ICC Women’s World Cup here on Thursday. New Zealand, who have dominated the Indians throughout this summer, didn’t let anything change in a familiar script by first scoring a healthy 260 for 9. They then choked the ‘Women in Blue’ before bowling them out for only 198 in 46.4 overs.
India have now slipped to fifth among eight teams after this defeat while New Zealand, with two wins from three games, are now second behind Australia in the overall standings.
Puja Vastrakar’s 4 for 34 in 10 overs and Harmanpreet Kaur’s 71 off 62 balls were two isolated performances which hardly made any impact on the larger outcome.
While Vastrakar’s four-for could still be credited for stopping New Zealand’s total from going north of 280, Harmanpreet’s runs might just help her regain confidence for the coming games.
Amelia Kerr (50 and 3/56 in 9 overs), one half of the famous Kerr sisters, first laid the platform with a solid half century and then breached the defences of rival skipper Mithali Raj (31 off 56 balls) with a flighted delivery.
Her fast googly dismissed Richa Ghosh (0) off the successive delivery to make it virtually impossible for India.
Towards the end, she also snapped up Harmanpreet to make it a perfect all-round performance. Seamers Lea Tahuhu (3/17 in 10 overs) and Hayley Jensen (3/30 in 6.4 overs) shared the other scalps.
The pursuit of 261 started on a discordant note with Smriti Mandhana (6 off 21 balls), Yastika Bhatia (28 off 59 balls) and Deepti Sharma (5 off 13 balls) unable find ways to rotate the strike.
Mithali’s struggles have been well documented and it’s not getting any better in her last tournament for India.
Even more baffling was coach Ramesh Powar’s strategy of sending three left-handers (out of form Shafali Verma was dropped) with home team skipper Sophie Devine giving the new ball to off-break bowler Frances Mackay (8-1-25-0), who would take it away from left-handers.
The figures don’t seem exceptional but much like what Deepak Patel did for men’s team in 1992, Mackay bowled as many as 27 dot balls in those first 15 overs to choke the flow of runs.
India haven’t found a way to counter New Zealand and in past one month, have lost five of the six WODIs against the White Ferns.
The game could be divided into two sets of first 20 overs where the two teams batted.
In case of New Zealand, the first 20 overs yielded 117 runs for the loss of just two wickets while India, in their response, painfully reached 50 for 3 in their share of 20.
The difference was 67 and if one looks at the margin of victory for ‘White Ferns’, it won’t be very difficult to gauge why things went downhill for Mithali’s team.
New Zealand’s batting has four pillars — Suzie Bates (5), skipper Devine (35), No. 3 Kerr (50) and No. 4 Amy Satterthwaite (75) and three performed on the day.