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India’s Top Order In Focus In Women’s ODI Series Decider vs Bangladesh

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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 on Saturday. Following a disastrous start, where the Indian women’s team crashed to its first-ever defeat to Bangladesh, the visitors levelled the series with a commanding 108-run win on Wednesday. Come Saturday, the Indian team would not only aim to secure the three-match series but also 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 visitors were bundled out for 113. But in the second ODI, India put up an improved batting display with skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues notching half-centuries.

However, the top order’s form continues to be a cause of concern.

Star opener Smriti Mandhana’s struggle from the T20 leg have continued in the 50-over format. She has managed to score just 47 runs in the two ODIs which is much less than the standards the Indian vice-captain has set for herself.

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 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, on the other hand, were right on the mark with leggie Devika Vaidya and part-time spinner Jemimah, who had a career best 4/3, sharing seven wickets between them.

Bangladesh will also hope for a better effort from its batters. The hosts lost 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 is the second best having manages a total of 42 runs across the two games.

Squads: ===== India: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana, Deepti Sharma, Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Yastika Bhatia (wk), Harleen Deol, Devika Vaidya, Uma Chetry (wk), Amanjot Kaur, Priya Punia, Pooja Vastrakar, Meghna Singh, Anjali Sarvani, Monica Patel, Rashi Kanojiya, Anusha Bareddy, Sneh Rana.

Bangladesh: Nigar Sultana (c), Nahida Akter, Murshida Khatun, Fargana Hoque, Sobhana Mostary, Shorna Akter, Ritu Moni, Lata Mondal, Disha Biswas, Marufa Akter, Sharmin Akhter, Sanjida Akter, Rabeya Khan, Sultana Khatun, Salma Khatun, Fahima Khatun, Shamima Sultana.

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