THIRD T20I In­dia women out to sal­vage pride

Deccan Chronicle - - Cricket -

Hamil­ton, Feb. 9: An im­proved bat­ting per­for­mance will be fore­most on skip­per Har­man­preet Kaur’s mind, when In­dian women eye­ing a con­so­la­tion vic­tory, take on New Zealand in the third and fi­nal T20 In­ter­na­tional here Sun­day.

After win­ning the ODI se­ries 2-1, In­dian women lost mo­men­tum and sub­se­quently the T20 se­ries. With an aim to build a squad for ICC World T20 in 2020, the In­dian team man­age­ment de­cided to drop team’s se­nior batswoman Mithali Raj, who is no longer con­sid­ered a force to reckon with in the short­est for­mat.

Only time will tell whether this in­spired call pays div­i­dends in the long run but the re­sults have been far from en­cour­ag­ing in the first two matches which In­dia lost by 23 runs and four wick­ets re­spec­tively.

“We are build­ing a team. To­day, we may be fac­ing dif­fi­cul­ties but in fu­ture we will do well as the young play­ers gain ex­pe­ri­ence. I think the fu­ture is good for the team and re­sults will fol­low,” skip­per Har­man­preet had said after con­ced­ing the se­ries.

In both games whether chas­ing or bat­ting first, In­dia are stuck in the less than 140-run mark, which is be­low-par against a top team like New Zealand. The big­gest prob­lem has been the lack of fight from the mid­dle-or­der save Sm­riti Mand­hana and Jemimah Ro­drigues, who were top scor­ers re­spec­tively in the first two games.

Debu­tant Priya Pu­nia’s lack of ex­pe­ri­ence has been ev­i­dent but prob­a­bly what hurt Women in Blue most is skip­per Har­man­preet Kaur’s in­dif­fer­ent form. The In­dian cap­tain scored 17 and 5 in the first two games. She has been rusty due to lack of bat­ting time since the start of the ODI se­ries where the vis­i­tors won quite com­fort­ably.

“We did not win the se­ries but more than win­ning and los­ing, we learnt a lot. We have a very young squad, there are very few play­ers who have played more than 30 matches. Most of the play­ers have played less than 10 T20I matches. It is a good learn­ing process for us,” Har­man­preet has rued the lack of ex­pe­ri­ence.

— AFP

Jemimah Ro­drigues (left) and Deepti Sharma.

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