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India Women vs New Zealand Women | Harmanpreet Kaur defends Mithali Raj's omission

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India Women vs New Zealand Women | Harmanpreet Kaur defends Mithali Raj's omission

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SportsCafe Desk


Indian women's T20I skipper Harmanpreet Kaur has defended her decision to leave Mithali Raj out of the playing XI in the first T20I against New Zealand in Wellington on Wednesday. India suffered a 23-run defeat against the White Ferns who took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

T20 skipper Harmanpreet Kaur defended her decision of leaving out ODI skipper Mithali Raj from the playing XI for the first T2OI against New Zealand in Wellington on Wednesday. Kaur has said that the team was looking to give youngsters, like Priya Punia, the opportunity of playing in foreign conditions since the next few T20 series will be back home.

“We are looking to give chance to the young girls. We only have these 3 overseas games and then we are playing more in Indian conditions. That’s the reason we are giving chances to the young girls,” Kaur said after the defeat in the first T20I.

Intrestingly, Raj completed her 200th ODI a few days back but has not been a part of the T20I squad since she was left out of the team for the Women’s World T20 semi-final. However, that didn’t prevent the team from collapsing to a 23-run defeat after being 102/1 in the 12th over, reflecting which Kaur said, “Bowlers did really well as this track was really good to bat on. We still restricted them to 159. But in the last 10 overs we didn’t bat well.”

While opener Smriti Mandhana, who scored a brilliant 58 of 38 to keep India in the hunt, emphasised on the need for her to bat through the innings and be more careful with her shot selection.

She said, “Tactically, the best option according to me is that I bat all through. But we will have a discussion about this and I feel it is better that one of the top batters bat through till the 18th over or so, so that after that the rest can rally around them,You have to pick the areas and go for the correct shots. And when we had the run rate under control, under seven, my shot was a bad one to play.”

"We were cruising till the 12th over, but in T20 there is always a chance of a collapse and we have to be watchful from now on. I don’t think it’s a good idea to think much about the past and we will have to think about the next match."

New Zealand's Lea Tahuhu was named the player-of-the-match after match figures of 3/20 in four overs. Tahuhu was pleased with the fightback by the hosts after the early assault by Smriti Mandhana, referring to which she said, “I am pretty bounced to be honest. We didn’t have the start that we wanted but to be able to come back and pull that one out of the bag is pretty great.”

“We adjusted our plans mid-way through the innings seeing that they got off to a flyer. It was just about keeping calm."

Skipper Amy Satterthwaite felt that the catch by Hannah Rowe to dismiss Mandhana enlighted New-Zealand's comeback.

“I am feeling a lot better now. After the first half of the Indian innings, I was a little bit concerned. Our catches were outstanding and the catch by Rowe really sparked our comeback,” Satterthwaite said.

“We kept saying that if we get a couple of wickets, the run-rate will start climbing. That’s what we managed to do by picking wickets at regular intervals."

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