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Pain Points that symptomised India Women’s poor showing in ODIs against Australia Women

Australia Women tour of India 2023-24: Top 5 reasons of India Women's poor show against Australia in ODIs. India Women lost three match series by 0-3 margin.


Australia Women tour of India 2023-24: India Women lost three match series by 0-3 against Australia in ODIs | Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
India Women lost ODI series by 0-3 against Australia (Photo: ©BCCI/Twitter)

India women’s team glory in red-ball cricket was bookended by two determining white-ball tournaments, the T20I series against England and the ODI series against Australia, both ended in losses. Australia have never lost an ODI series in India, a record which Alyssa Healy’s side was able to maintain as India lost the ODI series 3-0.


India produced a wretched batting display after the poor show with the ball to suffer a 190-run loss against Australia in the 3rd ODI. The loss resulted in India’s third-heaviest defeat. Having conceded the highest total ever of 338/7, registered by any opposition against them, India’s delicacy with the ball came to the fore.


Though there were some good performances, still India faced a complete whitewash at their home ground against the mighty Australia. Despite a five-for by Deepti Sharma and 96 by Richa Ghosh, Australia rode on India dropping as many as seven catches to win the second ODI by a close margin, sealing the series. 


Where did India go wrong in the ODIs against Australia?


Top-order inconsistency

India women faced a bizarre ODI series defeat recently. India’s batting did not inspire much confidence even though they were playing in their own backyard. The lack of consistency at the top of the order is continuously haunting the team as Shafali Verma is struggling with her form. 


Verma’s aggression at the top order came as a breath of fresh air when she first broke into the scene. She has single-digit scores in each of her ODI innings since Sep 2022 and was dropped from playing XI in four of India’s last six games in the format. Verma as an opener is the biggest positive for India but her current form has raised concern. 


Alongside her, India needs more consistency from other top-order batters too. There has been a lack of big scores from the top half. Smriti Mandhana has also failed to convert starts consistently. 



CWG 2022, Gold Medal match, AUS-W vs IND-W_ Harmanpreet Kaur's fifty (65) goes in vain as Australia beat India at CWG 2022 Gold medal match _ Walking Wicket (Source_ ©Twitter)
Harmanpreet's poor return with bat hurt India Women (Source: ©X/Twitter)

Constant middle-order collapse

The middle order, in contrast, has been unable to keep up with the consistency. The frequent crumbles have often titled the odds against India in the recent past. A major reason for the inconsistent returns remains the constant shuffling of the batting order along with the chopping and changing that is seen from series to series. 


Harmanpreet Kaur’s form also continued to be a concern with the India captain enduring a forgettable run. Kaur could only manage 17 runs in three ODIs against Australia. The poor run was a reflection of her miserable run of form as she has six single-digit scores across formats in her last nine outings. 


India has faced a few middle-order collapses in the recent past and the side is no stranger to such collapses now and it remains an area that needs urgent attention. 


Lack of power-hitter in lower-middle order 

India women’s team is fighting with the inability to close out matches, especially in run chases. The match situation while chasing has time and again put the spotlight on India’s lower-middle order. Richa Ghosh who used to bat down the order has been promoted at the top and has taken the role perfectly. However, this move robs India of the power-hitter down the order with their reluctance to use Vastrakar’s batting prowess regularly. 


Ghosh's promotion to one-drop also indicates that the team sees Rodrigues's best utility at No. 5 who earlier used to bat at the top. Whereas, Deepti Sharma who comes at No. 6 or 7, has failed to finish out matches in situations of an increasing asking rate. Her ability as a finisher and strike rate of 72.11 with just one six has come under the scanner multiple times.


India desperately need a few strong hitters in the lower-middle order who can conclude the game in challenging situations. 



Australia Women tour of India 2023-24_ Pooja Vastrakar took 3 wickets from three ODI matches and was expensive _ Walking Wicket (Photo_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Pooja took only 3 wickets from three ODI games (Photo: ©BCCI/Twitter)

Inexperienced death bowling

The current India’s bowling attack is very inexperienced. Apart from this, the lack of pacers is also a concern for the team management who can bowl in death overs if one of the regular bowlers may have a bad day. 


Four of the last five debutants in ODIs for India are spinners. Three of those have played just one ODI each. The ineffectiveness to exert control in the middle phase along with India’s poor death-over bowling allowed the opposition to win the series. India leaked runs at close to nine an over in the last five overs of the innings against Australia.


Pooja Vastrakar has impressed in red-ball cricket but is still learning the ropes of death bowling in the white-ball game. When facing a team where a batter like Alana King is the primary attacker, India need more high-quality death bowlers capable of stopping such power players. 



Poor fielding efforts and letting catches slip

The fielding efforts by India women’s team are currently a major talking point. The team has been horridly poor on the field in the second and third ODIs. Their horrendous fielding in the second ODI cost India the game by a mere three runs. India need constant work to be better in the fielding department.

 

The women in blue have spilled as many as seven catches in the last game and have also committed mistakes in their DRS calls. Head Coach Amol Muzumdar in his first press conference addressed and picked fielding as one of his “top priorities”. In that regard, his team’s recent performance would be one he would want to forget. 

 

Apart from a slew of misfields and drop catches, India were also guilty of conceding 28 extras. The team performed way below its potential and need to bounce back stronger in the coming matches. 


The Women in Blue will be back in action against Australia in the three-match T20I series. The hosts would like to take their learning from the ODIs to make a solid comeback in the T20Is.


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