Bengaluru, July 7 (IANS) The gloves are off as India take on New Zealand in the fifth and final game of the women’s One-Day International (ODI) five-match series here on Wednesday with the teams locked 2-2.
The series decider is likely to be a battle of nerves as both teams will be going all out to clinch the rubber with the Kiwis aiming for their maiden bilateral series win in India in three attempts.
Through the previous four games, there has been little separating the two teams, both of whom have been alternately excelling and struggling.
The Kiwis did well to shrug off a loss in the very first game to take the next two matches before the Indians hit back by winning the fourth after chasing down a 200-plus run target.
As New Zealand skipper Suzie Bates mentioned on Wednesday, the Kiwis have been weighed down by mini collapses that have taken the wind out of their sails. They looked set to score in excess of 250 in the fourth ODI on Monday here, but fell short to be bowled out for 220.
India reached the target in 44.2 overs losing just two wickets.
On the other hand, Indian batting did not looked quite the part. Marked by individual rather than collective effort until Wednesday when the top order fired in unison with skipper Mithali Raj and opener Smriti Mandhana scored half-centuries.
Overall, neither team has been consistent enough to dominate the series which has been closely fought. The trend is likely to continue on Wednesday with both teams having fair chance of clinching the series.