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Herculean task for Indian eves

12:06 AM Sep 24, 2021 | Associated Press

Mackay (Australia): Outplayed in every aspect of the game so far, the Indian women's cricket team desperately needs its top order to strike form and its bowlers to show some spark against an in-form Australia in the second ODI here on Friday.

India badly needs Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana to fire to put pressure on Australia after receiving a nine-wicket hammering in the opening match of the three-game series.

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Both the openers have the firepower to take on the rival attack and they need to ensure that Ellyse Perry and Darcie Brown do not dominate them the way did in the series-opener.

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The pace duo set the tone for the hosts in the warm-up game in Brisbane as well as in the first ODI here on Monday by cleaning up the Indian top-order as Australia recorded their 25th straight triumph in the format, a world-record winning streak.

Once the aggressive Shafali and Smriti are back in the hut without contributing much, the Indian team is left to do the damage control instead of pushing the accelerator button.

One of these openers needs to bat deep and the middle order, led by skipper Mithali Raj, also has to show more intent in scoring runs at a decent pace.

Vice captain Harmanpreet Kaur, who missed the opening game due to a thumb injury, is still unavailable and in her absence the team needs Deepti Sharma to do more.

The team's batting coach Shiv Sunder Das confirmed that Harmanpreet has not yet recovered.

"Right now she (Harmanpreet) is not fit. She's not available for the next game, that's the current status," the coach said at the pre-match press conference.

The 21-year southpaw Yastika Bhatia gave a good account of herself on debut in the previous game.

If the Indian team fails to win Friday's game, it would lose its third straight series, having suffered defeats against South Africa and England.

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