India started the world cup with a bang by winning against Pakistan by a huge margin of 107 runs. However, they preceded the match by losing it against the hosts and the favourites for this tournament Kiwis by a margin of 62 runs. Kiwis dominated the encounter in all three departments, however, there were a few positives from the game for India. Maybe a few right decisions and this match would've been in India's favour.
Winning the toss, the experienced skipper Mithali chose to bowl. With one right change in the form of Yastika Bhatia replacing Shafali, India went on the field. India was able to dismiss the dangerous Suzie Bates for a low score, courtesy of a great direct hit from the previous Player of the Match, Pooja Vastrakar. But then the experienced duo of Kerr and Devine took on the Indian attack. Sattherwaite, Green and Martin ensured the same continues even further.
At a time when it looked that Kiwis will reach to 300 run mark, India bounced back and bowled good in death overs. The star for India's bowling was the player who starred with the bat in the last match, Pooja Vastrakar. She scalped 4 wickets and was the only bowler to bowl with an economy lesser than 4. Jhulan and Gayakwad scalped 1 and 2 wickets respectively. Deepthi, Meghna and Rana turned out to be a little expensive. But the overall effort in death from Indian bowlers restricted the Kiwis to 260.
In reply, the Indian top-order was not able to perform. The inclusion of Yastika was a right move considering the short ball bowled by Kiwis, but she found it hard to go due to the quick wickets of Smriti and Deepthi. At a point where she looked to have an eye on the ball, she had a soft dismissal. The skipper tried to hold one end for some time but was dismissed too. Both of them did score some runs, but their strike rate was worrisome. When India plays against strong teams, the strike rate is a very crucial factor that can turn the game.
The positive for India was Harmanpreet Kaur returning to form. She was the only batter who was trying to up the run rate and lower the required rate. Seeing her hit those 2 long sixes, Indian sighed relief seeing their strongest batter clearing the boundaries, something which she is known for. If she continues the form in upcoming matches, she will be a treat to watch for Indians and a threat to opposition in the upcoming matches.
At this point, India has one victory and one loss. But today's loss will make sure India remains grounded and will also ensure India is aware of where it can go wrong. If every Indian batter maintains a good strike rate, India will either be able to chase targets or can set a good defendable score for our bowlers. With Harman back in form, India would hope their middle-order fires again, giving much-needed support for the top order. Let's hope it happens and India manage to win a majority of further games
Authored By:- Ashwin Jangam ( Cricket Analyst, Host and Entertainer)
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