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Women's Cricket

Indian women look to break Australia's 24 match winning run in ODIs

While the Australian women's cricket team will play after a six-month gap, team India to try to turn the tide and pose a challenge to the mighty Aussies as well

India vs Australia in action after their last match (Source: Indian Express)

India vs Australia in action after their last match (Source: Indian Express)


Shruti Banerjee

Updated: 20 Sep 2021 5:53 AM GMT

After playing their last series against England a couple of months back, the Indian women's cricket team is once again preparing for their next series. And, that is against the Australian women's cricket team – who has the record of winning 24 ODI games on a trot. India, on the other hand, lost their last two series, against South Africa and England.

While the Australian women's cricket team will play after a six-month gap, with a few new faces in the kitty, Team India will try to turn the tide and pose a challenge to the mighty Aussies as well.

Openers – Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana in form

After having a successful stint in the shortest format, young and talented Shafali Verma has finally made her debut in the 50-over format as well as in Test.

While you are playing against a team like Australia, you need a strong start and what could be better than the dynamic duo – Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma? Both are known for their attacking style. While elegant Mandhana can anchor the innings, swashbuckling Shafali can take the charge and help the team by scoring quickly. Even if either of them stays for a long time in the middle, it can be a nightmare for the Australian team.

However, apart from this duo, another youngster Jemimah Rodrigues, who had been going through a poor form and was eventually dropped against England, could return in the ODI side after having a stellar season in the recently concluded The Hundred.

Middle-order woes despite Mithali Raj's form

Although they have in-form openers, Team India has been struggling in their middle-order for quite some time now. Captain Mithali Raj has been holding the fort single-handedly whereas others are not so consistent with the bat. With the struggle of scoring freely as well as rotating the strike from the middle-order, Raj's defensive knocks also come under the scanner on several occasions.

Indian vice-captain and power-hitter Harmanpreet Kaur

Apart from her, both Punam Raut and the vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur are not at all consistent. Their poor show harms the team in the middle-order. However, Kaur has recently played for Manchester Originals and showed some classy knocks also. Her return to form will be a big boost for the team since she is known for her fireworks in the middle overs as well as in the end. But this can only happen when she will recover fully from her quadriceps injury and becomes a match-fit.

While these names are familiar in the circuit, a few new faces have been added as well. And one of them is the uncapped Yastika Bhatia, who has shown a good prospect with a 42-ball 41 with 7 fours in the warm-up game. While her debut is quite doubtful with the compact playing XI, she can be a good prospect in the middle-order.

Along with them, they have spin-bowling all-rounders Deepti Sharma and Sneh Rana. While Rana's return and rise has already shown in the last series, Deepti can turn the table on her day. Even, the all-rounder Pooja Vastrakar can come up in the order considering her free-flowing batting skill. She scored an 84-ball 57 in the warm-up game recently. And, the young Richa Ghosh too can be an option if Taniya Bhatia fails with the bat.

Bowlers need to step up

Team India's pace attack is led by the veteran speedster Jhulan Goswami. And, it won't be wrong to say that the pace department has been excessively dependent on her. While Goswami has been in form, Shikha Pandey and Pooja Vastrakar need to step up on the occasion and churn out good performances constantly to restrict a side like Australia.

They have also added two new faces – medium-pacer Meghana Singh and bowling all-rounder Renuka Singh. Having a lot of domestic experiences in their kitty, they can probably use those against Australia if they get the chance.

As far as the spin department is concerned, they have added the spin troika – Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht and Rajeshwari Gayakwad. While Yadav's leg-spin is a threat to any batter, Bisht and Gayakwad can also trouble the mighty Aussies. After all, who can forget India's nail-biting win in the semi-final of the 2017 Women's World Cup?

Australia –a well-balanced team

Australian women's cricket team has made a world record after winning 24 ODI matches successively. However, this time they won't get the services of the world's two highest-ranked ODI bowlers – Jess Jonassen and Megan Schutt. While the spinner Jess Jonassen has been ruled out due to a stress reaction in her lower leg, Megan Schutt has recently welcomed her first child with her wife Jess.

In their absence, 19-year-old NSW fast bowler Stella Campbell has been handed her first international call-up. Annabel Sutherland has also returned after recovering from a stress reaction in her right femur.

Australia captain Meg Lanning

Along with these relatively new faces, Australia's core team – Meg Lanning, Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healy, Beth Mooney, Rachael Haynes and others are there and are ready to give a tough fight to India.

On the other hand, Team India has lost to Australia by 36 runs in the warm-up game. And, they need to assess their squad before the series begins on September 21.

India Test and ODI squad: Mithali Raj (c), Harmanpreet Kaur (vc), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Punam Raut, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Sneh Rana, Yastika Bhatia, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Shikha Pandey, Jhulan Goswami, Meghna Singh, Pooja Vastrakar, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Richa Ghosh, Ekta Bisht.

Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Darcie Brown, Maitlan Brown, Stella Campbell, Nicola Carey, Hannah Darlington, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Tahlia McGrath, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Georgia Redmayne, Molly Strano, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham

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