Cricket

IND-W Vs RSA-W, 2nd ODI Preview: India Women Eye Series Win Against Visiting South Africa

India lead the three-match ODI series against South Africa 1-0 after a dominant 143-run victory in the first game. However, despite the win, the Indian team management will be looking for a more polished performance from their top-order batters in the second ODI on Wednesday

India have a 1-0 lead in their hand.
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India will expect their top-order batters to produce a tidier effort against South Africa in the second women’s ODI on Wednesday in their quest for an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. (More Cricket News)

India have a 1-0 lead in their hand, courtesy a 143-run win in the first game but the win, as comprehensive as it was, also left some questions unanswered.

The home side rode on Smriti Mandhana’s hundred and a fine spell by spinners to outclass South Africa, but it was not enough to paper over some wide cracks in the batting department.

The most glaring of them is the continued underwhelming ODI outings of opener Shafali Verma. Her last one-day fifty came in 2022, an unbeaten 71, against Sri Lanka at Pallekele.

In the last six matches, the opener’s individual scoresheet reads: 1, 8, 0, 4, 1, 7. The 20-year-old will require a substantial score sooner than later to cling on to her spot.

Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur will also like to have a big score under her belt after notching up 14, 9, 5, 3 and 10 in her last five outings.

Top-order batter Jemimah Rodrigues, who returned from a back injury that forced her to sit out of the T20I series against Bangladesh, too failed to impress.

Rodrigues would like to recapture her 2023 form where she made a couple of 80s and came close to scoring her maiden ODI hundred.

All of them, in fact, can take a cue from vice-captain Mandhana, whose sixth ODI hundred stood out for its studiousness.

Of course, the graceful left-hander has been in good touch in ODIs, as her last 20 innings dating back to February 2022 have fetched seven fifties and two centuries and was dismissed below 10 only thrice.

But returning to the one-day format after playing a string of T20s in the last four months might have been tough for her, and it became all the more difficult because she also had to bail out the team from a precarious 99 for five against the Proteas.

However, Mandhana braved those tests, showing wonderful adaptation of skills and mindset.

Hopefully, her colleagues in the top-order will contribute more runs as she will not have to repeat that firefighting act.

While the bowlers fired in unison under debutante leg-spinner Asha Shobhana (4/21), India will keep an eye on the fitness of Pooja Vastrakar.

The pacer had to walk off the field in the 18th over of South Africa innings with what then seemed to be a knee niggle. However, later Mandhana attributed Vastrakar’s absence to cramps.

In the case of an eventuality, India can always fall back on Arundhati Reddy, a like-for-like replacement.

On the other hand, South Africa will also look for a better outing from their batters, who came a cropper against Indian bowlers on a rather sluggish Chinnaswamy pitch.

The Indian spinners – Asha, Deepti Sharma and Radha Yadav – shared seven wickets among themselves, and visitors will have to find a way to nullify them to avoid another collapse.

It’s imperative then for SA that skipper Laura Wolvaardt, who was dismissed in the first over in the opening match, finds her range.

Squads

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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