Cricket

India Women Vs South Africa Women, 1st ODI Preview: Jemimah Rodrigues Returns After Injury

The Harmanpreet Kaur-led side, which had lost the ODI and T20I series against Australia at home this January, came roaring back, blanking Bangladesh 5-0 in a recent away T20I series and the hosts would like to build on it further

X | BCCI Women
India and South Africa women's captains Harmanpreet Kaur (first from left) and Laura Wolvaardt. Photo: X | BCCI Women
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India and South Africa will be eager to achieve different goals with the broader picture of the Women’s T20 World Cup hanging in the backdrop when they begin a three-week long all-format series with the first ODI in Bengaluru on June 16, Sunday. (More Cricket News)

In the year of T20 WC, the 50-over matches might look a bit incongruous but they are significant for the two teams looking to hit a busy road to the ICC showpiece, to be hosted by Bangladesh in October, on a winning note, and gain momentum.

The Harmanpreet Kaur-led side, which had lost the ODI and T20I series against Australia at home this January, came roaring back, blanking Bangladesh 5-0 in a recent away T20I series and the hosts would like to build on it further.

Head coach Amol Muzumdar termed the result as a vital stepping stone in their preparation along with the target-oriented camps in Bengaluru and Mumbai.

"We had fantastic preparations in the last eight weeks. We went to Bangladesh and won the series 5-0. We practiced on the same ground where we will be playing the World Cup.

"We also had a couple of camps before this series (against SA). We had a split camp. The bowlers' camp was held at the NCA (Bengaluru) and the batters' camp was in Navi Mumbai. It was a concentrated camp and we achieved some desired results," said Muzumdar.

However, the victory over Bangladesh on slow tracks was crafted by the Indian bowlers as the batters often struggled to hit the top gear.

But a return to the M Chinnaswamy stadium with its placid pitch, short boundaries and quick outfield, will fill them with hope.

The likes of Harmanpreet, Smriti Mandhana and Shefali Verma will be keen to get back to the run-making ways.

Fitness of Jemimah, Pooja under scanner

India will also keep an eye on the fitness of top-order batter Jemimah Rodrigues, who had missed the series against Bangladesh with a back injury.

Rodrigues, who has been undergoing rehab at the NCA, was included in the squad subject to fitness.

Medium pacer Pooja Vastrakar, who appeared in all the matches against Bangladesh, has also been named in the squad, though she is also recuperating from an unspecified injury.

But India have enough depth to cover the possible absence of the aforementioned duo, and the young wicketkeeper batter Uma Chetry will also be closely monitored.

The uncapped player has replaced injured Yastika Bhatia in the team and will be in contention alongside Richa Ghosh.

India's bowling unit consisting of pacers Renuka Singh Thakur, Arundhati Reddy, spinners Asha Shobana and Shreyanka Patil will be quite a handful for the visitors irrespective of the nature of the surface here.

On the other hand, South Africa are coming off a middling series against Sri Lanka at home where they lost the T20Is 1-2 before sharing the ODIs 1-1.

So, they would want a turnaround in this series and in-form skipper Laura Wolvaardt will have to lead their batting. Her last five innings are: 102, 56, 41, 110 not out and 184 not out.

The Proteas will also hope for other senior pros such as Marizanne Kapp, Ayabonga Khaka and Nadine de Klerk to find their range at the earliest.

For the visitors, the three ODIs have extra importance because they will be looking to bag a few Women’s ODI Championship points, crucial to their progress to the 50-over World Cup in 2025 to be held in India.

Teams (from):

India: Harmanpreet Kaur (C), Smriti Mandhana (VC), Shafali Verma, Deepti Sharma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Richa Ghosh (WK), Uma Chetri (WK), Dayalan Hemlatha, Radha Yadav, Asha Sobhana, Shreyanka Patil, Saika Ishaque, Pooja Vastrakar, Renuka Singh Thakur, Arundhati Reddy, Priya Punia.

South Africa: Laura Wolvaardt (c), Anneke Bosch, Tazmin Brits, Nadine de Klerk, Annerie Dercksen, Mieke de Ridder, Sinalo Jafta, Marizanne Kapp, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Suné Luus, Eliz-Mari Marz, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Tumi Sekhukune, Nondumiso Shangase, Delmi Tucker.

Match starts at 1.30 PM.

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