By Sunil Yash Kalra
The Indian team is in a tricky situation at the women's cricket World Cup as back to back losses have dented their confidence.
Seething in pain, the Indians need redemption via a convincing victory against New Zealand on Saturday to seal a berth in the semi-finals of Women's World Cup 2017at the Derby Cricket ground.
The Indians are in a spot of bother now and have to produce a Houdini's act to escape elimination from the 11th edition of the Women's Cricket World Cup.
Against the Indians are their current form, past statistics and former women cricketers' prediction on the match favorites.
In the 10 head-to-head encounters in World Cup, the Kiwis have decimated India on nine occasions. The solitary win emerged in the 2005 WC semi-finals, where Indians comprehensively bulldozed through and reached their first finals of a World Cup.
Jhulan Goswami and Mithali Raj are the only two survivors from that summer afternoon battle where Indians emerged victorious by 40 runs at Potchefstroom, South Africa. However, former Kiwi cricketer and current coach Haidee Tiffin will look to avenge that.
India and New Zealand have suffered defeats in their previous games against Australian and England respectively. Saturday's game will be more about performance, swiftness, unpredictable strategy rather than a deft, traditional game.
The Kiwis have a slight edge with all round athleticism led by skipper Suzie Bates. Bates, a former basketball player at the 2008 Beijing Olympics is the only Olympian to play the game of cricket.
A big attraction is 16-year-old Kiwi leg-spinner Amelia Kerr, who could prove to be an unexpected surprise for the Indian eves.
India's recent performance seems like an inflated balloon, with batting, their main strength letting them down. Without a strong total to defend, the Indian bowlers will not be able to contain the opposition.
However, the Indians have two strengths. Deceptive loop deliveries of the spinners, that bamboozle batters for caught behind or stumping.
The ground, Derby seems to be the home ground for Indians where they had won their initial encounters of the World Cup. Knowing seasoned coach Tushar Arothe, we can see expect change in batting line up, more aggression in batting, innovative field placement and overall body language of Indians.
Mithali became the highest run scorers in One-Day Internationals during the last game, but on Saturday she will need ample support from Jhulan, Harmanpreet Kaur, Deepti Sharma and Poonam Yadav.
(Sunil Yash Kalra is a women's cricket expert and historian. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)