Kaur & Co eye consolation vic­tory

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - SCITECH - —PTI

Hamil­ton: 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 on 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 140run 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.

One of the big­gest prob­lems for In­dian team has been de­cid­ing on what ex­actly is Deepti Sharma’s role in the squad. As an off-spin­ner, she is nei­ther as re­stric­tive as left-arm spin­ner Radha Ya­dav nor an at­tack­ing op­tion like leg-spin­ner Poonam Ya­dav.

As a left-handed batswoman, she lacks the fire­power to up the ante in the fi­nal overs of the in­nings. She has failed re­peat­edly over the last two years to change her game and it will only be fair if the team man­age­ment de­cides where ex­actly she fits in.

If they are un­able to find Deepti’s re­place­ment, it will re­flect more about the lack of qual­ity in the bench strength.

The White Ferns have picked their game since los­ing the ODI se­ries with se­nior batswoman Suzie Bates scor­ing 57 in the fi­nal one dayer and a match-win­ning 62 in the sec­ond T20 In­ter­na­tional.

—AFP

In­dia’s Sm­riti Mand­hana will have a cru­cial role to play in last T20I

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