With the ODI series already conceded to New Zealand, a winless India will be hoping to achieve their first win on the tour in the fourth ODI at the John Davies Oval on Tuesday. The Mithali Raj-led side will be hoping that Tuesday will be the point from where the performances across all departments click in unison.
If it was the batting that didn't step up to the occasion in the one-off T20I and first ODI, then it was the turn of bowling to be one of the chief reasons for India losing second and third ODIs. With no Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur still searching for a big knock, India did well to register scores of 270 and 279 in the second and third ODIs.
In defence of the totals, India were pushed on the backfoot as Amelia Kerr and then Lauren Down bailed New Zealand out of difficult situations in the second and third matches. But with Smriti, Meghna Singh and Renuka Singh's availability, India should now focus on putting an eleven which will be consistent in the upcoming w'men's Cricket World Cup.
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The good news for India has been that earmarked reserve player Sabbhineni Meghana sparkled with 49 and 61 in Smriti's absence. Shafali Verma, who looked a little at sea in the initial matches, got a half-century in the third match. Deepti Sharma has looked in her elements while bowling her off-spins and would like for more support from senior spinners Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Poonam Yadav.
New Zealand, on the other hand, has very few things to worry about. Their experiments have proved to be masterstrokes and look the side to beat ahead of the World Cup. Amelia has been strong with bat and ball while Lauren showed that she can be a dependent person in taking New Zealand out of tough scenarios in the future.
Suzie Bates, Amy Satterthwaite and Katey Martin have been impressive with the bat as well while Jess Kerr, Amelia's elder sister and skipper Sophie Devine have done well with the ball in hand. With nothing to lose now, expect India, with a full squad now available, to put up a strong challenge against New Zealand and get a much-needed win under their belt.
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India: Sabbhineni Meghana, Shafali Verma, Yastika Bhatia, Mithali Raj (captain), Harmanpreet Kaur, Richa Ghosh (wicket-keeper), Taniya Bhatia (wicket-keeper), Deepti Sharma, Pooja Vastrakar, Jhulan Goswami, Simran Bahadur, Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Sneh Rana, Meghna Singh, Renuka Singh and Smriti Mandhana.
New Zealand: Sophie Devine (captain), Suzie Bates, Amelia Kerr, Amy Satterthwaite, Maddy Green, Katey Martin (wicket-keeper), Brooke Halliday, Hayley Jensen, Jess Kerr, Rosemary Mair, Fran Jonas, Lea Tahuhu, Lauren Down, Frances Mackay and Hannah Rowe.