The showdown between India and New Zealand will be the 9th match of the ICC Women’s T20 world cup and also the 5th match of Group A. It will be India’s third match in the tournament while being the 2nd outing for the White Ferns. India has made it to the semi-finals of the T20 world cup 3 times in the past. New Zealand, on the other hand, has twice made it to the finals and twice to the semi-finals.
The match will be held on 27th Feb at 9.30 am IST at Junction Oval, Melbourne. The ground only recently started hosting international matches, including the recent Tri-Nation series.
Players to watch out for and why
The Indian side would enter the ground with two very strong bowlers. Poonam Yadav has been a surprise weapon, plucking 4 wickets vs. Australia and then 3wickets vs. Bangladesh, becoming one of the most lethal bowlers of this tournament. She is supported by the very efficient Shikha Pandey, who has plucked 5 wickets in the last two matches and maintained a superb economy of 3.50 and 3.65 respectively.
On the batting side, two reliable batsmen would hold the forte for India: Shefali Verma and Jemimah Rodriguez. Verma scored 68runs in the last two matches, while Rodriguez managed 60runs. Allrounder Deepti Sharma is another player to watch out, especially after her 49* knocks against Australia.
New Zealand boasts of an absolutely destructive batsman in the form of skipper Sophie Devine. Devine has been playing with a spectacular average of 82.28runs, including the magnificent 75* innings against Sri Lanka. If you wanted to bank on any White Fern, it should be Devine.
In the bowling department, New Zealand shows some problems as it lacks any consistent bowlers. It has a variety of bowlers, but each has struggled with her form in the previous matches. However, Lea Tuhuhu, Amelia Kerr and Hayley Jensen should be the bowlers to watch out.
Who will win and why
The prediction becomes hard here, as it is a matter of statistics vs form. The White Ferns have a rather illustrious legacy behind them, including their performance in the previous world cups. New Zealand and India have faced each other a total of 11 times till now and New Zealand has emerged victorious in 8 of them. Even in the 3-match Indian tour of New Zealand last year, the Indian side was annihilated with a 3-0 defeat. Yet, the Indian Women’s team has had a great form in the tournament so far. They won their warm-up match against West Indies and their last two matches of the tournament.