In the first ODI at Wankhede Stadium, India faced a comprehensive defeat despite setting their highest-ever total against Australia at 282/8. The batting highlights were Jemimah Rodrigues’ 82 and Pooja Vastrakar’s unbeaten 62. However, despite the formidable total, India’s bowling effort fell short.

India used seven different bowlers, including Harmanpreet Kaur, who returned figures of 3-0-32-0. Despite the variety in the bowling attack, Australia comfortably chased down the target with more than three overs and six wickets to spare. This defeat marked India’s eighth consecutive loss at home, raising concerns within the team.

The fielding performance was subpar after an initial highlight when Sneh Rana took a diving catch to dismiss Alyssa Healy in the first over. However, a series of errors in the field allowed the Australian pair of Phoebe Litchfield and Ellyse Perry to build a substantial 148-run partnership for the second wicket.

India’s new ball bowlers, particularly Pooja Vastrakar, struggled to make an impact, and even experienced spinners like Deepti Sharma (1/55) and Sneh Rana couldn’t replicate the troubles they had caused the Australian batters in the previous one-off Test at the same venue. The manner in which India succumbed to the Australian onslaught would likely raise concerns and prompt a reevaluation in the team’s strategy and performance in the upcoming matches.

Saika Ishaque, facing troubles settling down as a bowler on her T20I debut, encountered similar challenges in the first ODI with figures of 6-0-48-0. Mistakes in the field further compounded India’s difficulties. Before Jemimah Rodrigues and Pooja Vastrakar’s rescue effort with a 68-run stand for the eighth wicket, India struggled with the bat, failing to convert starts into substantial scores.

Recovering quickly from this loss for the second ODI, scheduled just a day later, poses a tough challenge for India, marking their seventh match across formats in the last 23 days of this packed home season. The toll of consistent top-flight cricket is evident, and the team must navigate through an overall 11 matches across formats in a mere 35 days.

Vice-captain Smriti Mandhana, absent in the first ODI due to illness, remains uncertain for the second match. Jemimah Rodrigues faced hydration issues during her innings, emphasizing the physical challenges the players are enduring in intense heat and humidity.

The main focus for the team, both strategically and on the field, is finding ways to halt the formidable Australian batting lineup. Tahlia McGrath, the Australian vice-captain, has been in prime form, scoring three fifties on this tour. The pitch’s batting-friendly nature implies that bowling will be India’s primary concern in the upcoming contests.

While India managed to score 56 off the final six overs in a late push, Australia acknowledges the need for improvement in death overs bowling and batting. Despite a near-perfect outing, the visitors aim to address these areas to further strengthen their performance in the remaining matches at Wankhede Stadium.

India Squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana (vc), Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma, Deepti Sharma, Yastika Bhatia (wk), Richa Ghosh (wk), Amanjot Kaur, Shreyanka Patil, Mannat Kashyap, Saika Ishaque, Renuka Singh Thakur, Titas Sadhu, Pooja Vastrakar, Sneh Rana, Harleen Deol.

Australia Squad: Darcie Brown, Heather Graham, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Alyssa Healy (c&wk), Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney (wk), Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham.


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