India take on England women in the second ODI with the series on the line. They have lost the first game quite badly and now they will have to win this one by hook or by crook.
England won the toss and opted to bowl first knowing fully well that batting first may not be the best decision in these circumstances. Meanwhile Indian openers Shefali Verma and Smriti Mandhana gave the visitors a good start. Both added 50 for the first wicket before Mandhana was dismissed. Later skipper Mithali Raj and Harmanpreet Singh combined well to rebuild for visitors but once the latter was dismissed, India lost the plot. Kate Cross was the wrecker-in-chief with four wickets. Later the last wicket partnership between Jhulan Goswami and Punam Yadav really turned it around for India.
The 17-year-old batting sensation, who has taken world cricket by storm, has so far played 22 T20 Internationals but was inexplicably not picked for the last home series against South Africa Women, with India witnessing disastrous consequences. India lost 1-4 against South Africa and there was a lot of debate about Shafali’s omission from that series.
However on Sunday, no such harakiri is expected to be committed by the Indian team management, which now understands Shafali’s true value all the more after her stellar Test debut against England last week with scores of 96 and 63.
Her big-hitting prowess would certainly be of great value for the Indian team, which has lacked impact players save vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur, who herself has not been in the best of form.
With defensive plodders like Punam Raut, skipper Mithali herself in the top-order, Shafali on her day could be the difference between a sub-par total of 200 and winning score of 235 to 240.
The manner in which Shafali hammered the likes of Anya Shrubsole, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Nat Sciver and Sophie Ecclestone on her Test debut, the home team’s coaching staff would certainly be burning the midnight oil to stop the new ‘Haryana Hurricane’.
It would be interesting to check out India’s team composition which came under a lot of scanner during the series against the Proteas.
Priya Punia had a moderate series against the South Africans at home and India have the option of rookie keeper-batter Indrani Roy, who was selected in the squad on the back of a great domestic 50-over tournament.