Date – Thursday, 27th February 2020
Time – 3 pm (Local Time), 9:30 am (IST)
Venue – Junction Oval, Melbourne
As the 2020 Women’s World T20 progresses, the situation in Group A – consisting of Australia, New Zealand, India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh – seems to get even more interesting. With India slated to face New Zealand, the path to the playoffs could get more clarity for both these teams.
India has already played 2 of their games. Against both the hosts Australia and Bangladesh, the Indian spinners, led by Poonam Yadav, spun a web on the opposing batters and did not allow the opposition to chase the targets set by India. They now sit pretty on the top with two games to play. After brushing aside Australia, they now face their second big challenge – New Zealand. Another win against a strong New Zealand side will help India have one foot on the semi-finals.
New Zealand, however, has played only one of their games in the competition, against Sri Lanka in Perth. Sri Lanka’s Chamari Atapattu got them to a flying start but they lost their way to end at a modest 127/7 in their 20 overs. Sri Lanka lost 2 wickets, including the important wicket of Suzie Bates by the first half of their innings, but the brilliance of Sophie Devine and the hard-hitting Maddy Green secured the win for their side. If they manage to find an answer to Poonam Yadav’s web of spin and win the game, they will also fancy their chances by topping the group. However, a loss will keep them on equal terms with Australia.
India Vs New Zealand – Head-to-Head
New Zealand has a good record against India in T20Is. India has faced New Zealand in 11 T20I matches to date. However, New Zealand has won 8 of these matches while India has just won 3 of them. The last time these sides met was during India’s tour of New Zealand last year in which New Zealand blanked them 3-0.
In World T20 tournaments, India has met New Zealand thrice in which New Zealand has won two games. It must be noted that India prevailed when they had met the last time in a World T20 match in 2018, where Harmanpreet Kaur shellacked a century off only 51 balls to score 194/5, the highest score in Women’s World T20 by any team. New Zealand could score only 160 and ended up losing by 34 runs.
In other words, New Zealand has had the better of India in this format but the Indian side is no pushovers, especially considering the momentum that they have built by beating the home team. The Indian side is upbeat and will be ready to take on New Zealand.
India – WWLWL
New Zealand – WWLWW
(Last 5 completed matches)
India recently faced a loss against Australia in the tri-series final and a loss against both Australia and England in the league stage of the tri-series leading up to this tournament, but resounding wins against hosts Australia and Bangladesh means that they will be very upbeat and confident ahead of this match.
New Zealand has dropped only one game of late, which is the match against South Africa when South Africa toured New Zealand last month. They have quite a few wins under their belt and the win in the opening game would make them feel equally confident heading into this match.
New Zealand is definitely a better team in this format and should be able to pull off a win if they can negotiate the likes of Poonam Yadav and the other spinners in the Indian team.
India Squad – Harmanpreet Kaur (captain), Taniya Bhatia (wicket-keeper), Harleen Deol, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Richa Ghosh, Veda Krishnamurthy, Smriti Mandhana, Shikha Pandey, Arundhati Reddy, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Pooja Vastrakar, Shafali Verma, Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav
The Indian batting line-up is quite powerful which the Australian women’s team coach Matthew Mott agreed when he claimed that they are ‘the most feared batting line-up’ of the tournament. Smriti Mandhana tends to build a strong foundation for her team while batting while her partner Shafali Verma’s cameos can result in quick runs that can worry New Zealand. Jemimah Rodrigues and captain Harmanpreet Kaur round out a very good batting core.
The middle-order seems to have regained some ground with Deepti Sharma guiding her side to a competitive score against Australia and Veda Krishnamurthy performing against Bangladesh. On the bowling front, India has shown its spin bowling resources with Poonam Yadav leading the wickets column. Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Radha Yadav are also capable spinners and Deepti Sharma is a very good spinner herself. Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar and Arundhati Reddy as the only seam bowling options in the squad. Smriti Mandhana missed out on the last match due to viral fever and is expected to be fine for this game.
New Zealand Squad – Sophie Devine (captain), Suzie Bates, Lauren Down, Maddy Green, Holly Huddleston, Hayley Jensen, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Jess Kerr, Rosemary Mair, Katey Martin, Katie Perkins, Anna Peterson, Rachel Priest, Lea Tahuhu
Sophie Devine has been the most consistent performer for New Zealand recently. In the T20I series against South Africa at home, she scored a total of 297 runs in 4 matches hitting one century and three half-centuries. She is among the highest run-scorers for New Zealand. Even in the last match, her innings of 75 guided New Zealand home. Suzie Bates, the former captain, has the highest number of runs in World T20s and also overall. Maddy Green was also in good touch in their opening game. They form the batting core of the side along with Rachel Priest and Katie Martin. Leading the bowling attack is Lea Tahuhu, their premier fast bowler along with spinners like Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, and Anna Peterson. Jess Kerr made her debut in this tournament in the last match and bowled a solitary over.
Players to Watch out for
Shafali Verma (India) – Indian opener Shafali Verma is capable of getting fast starts. She is very young and talented and has taken the world by storm with her aggressive batting style and clean hitting. She has already displayed her talent with a couple of hard-hitting performances to accelerate the scoring in the powerplay and putting the opposition bowlers under pressure early. New Zealand bowlers will be looking to take her wicket early if they are to maintain any hold in this match as she can take away the game from them really quickly.
Sophie Devine (New Zealand) – The White Ferns’ skipper, Sophie Devine, is in sublime form at the moment. Coming on the back of an impressive run comprising of a century and 3 half-centuries in the recently-concluded series against South Africa, she is one wicket which the Indian side will want early. While possessing the ability to build an innings as she did in against Sri Lanka in their opening game, she is also destructive and has the record of scoring the fastest fifty in Women’s T20Is, completing a half-century in just 18 balls. She also has taken 84 wickets in T20Is, making her a very effective bowler as well.
Poonam Yadav (India) – If any player has the ability to turn things around for the Indian side, Indian spinner Poonam Yadav can literally turn things around in her side’s favor by turning the ball and instilling panic in the New Zealand side. A few quick wickets, including that of Sophie Devine, can put New Zealand under immense pressure. She has already had a great tournament, topping the wickets tally with 7 wickets to her name, with a four-for against Australia and a three-for against Bangladesh. New Zealand batters will need to have an answer for her if they want to win this match.
Suzie Bates (New Zealand) – New Zealand’s former captain, Suzie Bates may not be in the best of form but she can be equally deadly with the bat. Her record speaks for herself. She is one of the most experienced players in this format and has the highest number of runs with over 3000 runs to her name. She has also scored 881 runs in the history of the competition, which is the highest number of runs scored by a woman in the World T20s. She has also picked up 49 wickets in T20Is, which shows that she can fill in some overs when required.
Harmanpreet Kaur (India) – The Indian captain is strong tactically and also leads from the front while batting. She can hit the ball in all areas of the ground while batting and can accelerate the scoring in the latter stages. She has proved time and again that she is a clean striker of the ball and can play the role of a finisher while shepherding the middle and lower order. In the 2018 Women’s World T20, she stunned New Zealand with a century in 51 balls to prop India to the highest score in World T20 games. New Zealand will remember that game well and will want to take her wicket quickly, especially now, when she is not in the best of form. She can also roll her arm over to provide another bowling option if required.
Pitch & Conditions
The match between India and New Zealand will be played in Junction Oval, Melbourne. This will be the first time that the ground will host a World T20 game. There have been 7 Women’s T20Is played at this venue with teams batting first winning only twice while teams batting second has won 5 times. New Zealand have played in 3 matches here, way back in 2013, while India played in 3 T20Is, winning one – against Australia when they successfully chased down 173, their highest successful chase in the format. The ground is known for high scores with the average score batting first being 143. Teams will look to field first and look to chase the target.
The temperature will be expected to remain between 13 and 21 degrees Celsius and will remain cloudy. Some breeze throughout the day will aid swing bowling. Toss may not be a deciding factor in the game.
Last month, the Indian men’s team won their T20I games against New Zealand. Will the women follow suit and strengthen their chances of progressing to the playoffs? We can’t wait to find out. Follow us on Twitter for all the latest updates.