Eyeing a series-clinching victory, India would expect a better show from its top order when it takes on Bangladesh in the third and final women’s ODI here on Saturday.
Following a disastrous start, where the Indian women’s team crashed to its first-ever defeat to Bangladesh, the visitor levelled the series with a commanding 108-run win on Wednesday.
Come Saturday, the Indian team would aim to secure the three-match series, address the grey areas, and continue learning the nature of pitches, given that next year’s World Cup is scheduled in Bangladesh.
In the series opener, India’s batting unit left a lot to be desired as the visitor was bundled out for 113. But in the second ODI, India put up an improved batting display with skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues notching up half-centuries.
However, the top order form continues to be a cause of concern.
Star opener Smriti Mandhana’s struggle from the T20 leg has continued into the 50-over format. She has managed to score just 47 runs in the two ODIs.
Fellow opener Priya Punia, who replaced the big-hitting Shafali Verma in the ODI series, has failed to impress in her comeback. The 26-year-old has scores of 10 and 7 while wicketkeeper Yastika Bhatia would also like to give a better account of herself.
On the bright side, Jemimah was back among the runs, scoring a career-best 86 while skipper Harmanpreet has also looked in good nick.
But having gotten hurt on her hand, it is to be seen if the skipper is fully fit.
Harmanpreet was forced to leave the field briefly after getting hit on the left wrist at the non-striker’s end while completing a single during the second ODI.
She returned to bat but her stay in the middle lasted eight balls. She also did not take the field at the beginning of Bangladesh’s innings.
The Indian bowlers were right on the mark during the second ODI with leggie Devika Vaidya and part-time spinner Jemimah, who managed a career-best 4/3, sharing seven wickets between them.
Bangladesh will also hope for a better effort from its batters after losing seven wickets in the space of 14 runs.
Fargana Hoque has been Bangladesh’s best batter, having scored 74 runs in the two innings while Nigar Sultana scored a total of 42 runs across the two games.
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