On Friday, New Zealand took an unassailable lead of 3-0 in the five-match ODI series against India when they beat India by three wickets in the final over of the match. Chasing 281 runs, which could have been the second-highest successful run chase, the White Ferns rose to the occasion and fought tooth and nail to win the match. Despite the senior players like Sophie Devine and Suzie Bates making their way back to the pavilion inside three overs, the young guns like Amelia Kerr and Lauren Down bailed out the team, of course under the able aegis of Amy Satterthwaite. Dropped catches from the Indians was the order of the day as they spilled three to give life to Amy Satterthwaite twice and to Lauren Down once. “Catches win matches” is not at all overrated as it has been observed during this on-going India-New Zealand series.
Welcome Lauren Down! #NZvIND pic.twitter.com/4lfBFsH7av
— WHITE FERNS (@WHITE_FERNS) February 18, 2022
After India suffered a disappointing loss in the third ODI, Ramesh Powar, head coach of India, addressed questions from the media in a virtual press conference. Powar said, “I agree that we have looked a bit rusty but it is important to note that we got only three days of practice before the start of the series. However, I feel that we have improved a lot as a batting unit since the England series and also I am confident about our bowlers coming out good in the World Cup. We need to work on picking wickets in the middle overs and we are directing our effort towards it.”
India’s ODI vice-captain has not been among international runs for quite some time now. Since that heroics of 171 not out against Australia in the semi-final of 2017 World Cup, the 32-year old has managed to score just a couple of centuries in 26 ODI innings.
Powar said, “It is upto Harman to get back into form. It’s the player’s mind which works in pressure situations. We can create those in nets otherwise, it is upto that particular player to come out of that zone and do well.”
Apart from missing the usual Harmanpreet Kaur, India missed the services of Smriti Mandhana and Meghna Singh. Though both of them joined the team on February 15 after complying with the New Zealand government’s MIQ (Managed Isolation and Quarantine), the duo were not part of the playing XI for the third ODI which raised many eyebrows. Powar reckoned that Smriti and Meghna will be available for the remaining two ODIs and there were still some MIQ rules to be followed with respect to them. He also hinted that India may play three seamers in the remainder of the series.
If there is one thing that has eluded India from winning is their fielding. The Indians have been guilty of dropping catches, for instance, three in the third ODI that was played on Friday. When a catch is dropped, the batter gets a lifeline and goes on to score big runs, which affects India’s chance of winning.
Powar said, “After the Australia series, we did not play any matches as a group. When you don’t play as a team for quite some time, then fielding tends to get affected. However, there have been some positives in the fielding department. S Meghana has looked good on the field in this series so far. It is important to note that even the best of the fielders can drop catches on an off day.”
Finally, Powar appreciated the media during the virtual press conference for acknowledging Deepti Sharma’s performance. Powar said, “Deepti has come out good in this series. The captain has been talking to her, SS Das has been working on Deepti’s batting and I have been working on her bowling. We are trying to develop match winners.”
I am a former cricketer having represented Mumbai University at All India University level. I was a part of MCA probables for the U-19 and U-23 age group. I have been an avid cricket writer for the last five years. Currently I am pursuing my Ph.D from IIT Bombay.