World of Cricket: Richa Ghosh shows promise, Harmanpreet finds form

Indian women’s cricket team avoided a whitewash against New Zealand by winning fifth and final ODI in Queenstown. And among the gains from the series was Richa Ghosh and Harmanpreet Kaur’s form.

Wicketkeeper-batter Richa Ghosh entered the record books by smashing 50 off 26 balls in the fourth ODI against New Zealand. Richa’s was the fastest fifty by an Indian batter in women’s ODI cricket.   -  Getty Images

The Indian women’s cricket team had a dismal tour of New Zealand. The girls avoided a whitewash by securing victory in the fifth and final ODI in Queenstown. And among the gains from the series was Richa Ghosh and Harmanpreet Kaur’s form.

Wicketkeeper-batter Ghosh entered the record books by smashing 50 off 26 balls in the rain-truncated fourth rubber. Richa’s was the fastest fifty by an Indian batter in women’s ODI cricket. The 29-ball 52 comprised four fours and as many sixes. The effort went in vain as India lost the game by 63 runs, but her form augurs well for the side going into the World Cup this fortnight.

Harmanpreet smashed 63 off 66 in the consolation six-wicket victory. It was her first ODI fifty in 10 months and the 13th of her career. “It was good to see her playing all those shots she was playing. I was just happy to watch that from the other end. For the team going into the World Cup, it was important that both of us scored runs,” said Mandhana, who scored 71 off 84 balls.

Sri Lanka salvage pride in Australia

Sri Lanka could be the underdogs in the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year. They lost the five-match T20I series to the Aussies 4-1 this fortnight, but there was a lot of heart and fight.

READ: Mendis fifty helps Sri Lanka to avoid clean sweep against Australia

Pathum Nissanka smashed his fourth T20I fifty in the second game in Sydney. The islanders had almost sealed the deal, but the match ran into Super Over. Australia, filled with Big Bash and IPL specialists, held its nerves in the six-ball pressure to deny Sri Lanka its magic moment.

Dasun Shanaka’s side turned the tide in the final rubber in Melbourne.

Kusal Mendis (69 not out off 58 balls; 4x5, 6x1) and Shanaka (35 off 31; 6x2) helped chase down the target of 155 with a ball to spare.

“The boys played well throughout the series, and they made a statement. When we come, we will be prepared for the World Cup. Unfortunately, we missed a few players in between. We could have done better in this series. Kusal Mendis has been an outstanding player,” said Shanaka.

Partnership-building in Chattogram

Bangladesh secured an expected ODI series victory over Afghanistan with one game to spare this fortnight. Tamim Iqbal’s side beat the Afghans by 88 runs in the second ODI. Litton Das registered his fifth hundred (136 off 126 balls; 4x16, 6x2) as Bangladesh posted 306/6 — its highest total against Afghanistan.

Afghanistan folded for 218. All seven Bangladesh bowlers used in the match were among wickets. Shakib Al Hasan and Taskin Ahmed picked up two each while Shoriful Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Mahmudullah and Afif Hossain picked up one each.

Bangladesh created two new records in these two matches — that of partnerships. The home side stared at a defeat in the first ODI as Afghanistan reduced the side to 45/6 while defending 215. Mehidy Hasan Miraz (81 not out off 120 balls; 4x9) and Afif Hossain (93 not out off 115; 4x11, 6x1) stitched an unbeaten 174-run partnership off 225 balls for the seventh wicket to pull off a victory. Fazalhaq Farooqi's four-for went in vain.

Mushfiqur Rahim (86 off 93; 4x9) and Litton had a partnership of 202 runs off 186 balls for the third wicket in the second game.

Marnus in the balcony

World No. 1 Test batsman Marnus Labuschagne scores on preparation ahead of any series. This time, he has chosen his home balcony on a rubber mat laden with pieces of taped aluminium sheeting to simulate the variable bounce and spin of Pakistan wickets.

“I tried to create a wicket and a ball that nipped around a lot but didn’t bounce, because one of the big factors when you go to England is it nips and swings and it seams but the ball sort of hits the stumps from a shorter length,” he told reporters.

“So (it’s) a little bit of a similar thing going to Pakistan. I thought what’s the best way I can recreate spin... so (that) some spin, some slide and you can’t really predict what it’s doing, so you have to come up with a plan and a method,” he added.

The No. 3 batter shone in the Ashes with two fifties and a hundred at Adelaide.