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We are missing Smriti Mandhana, says Mithali Raj after 62-run loss in first ODI

Queenstown : India ODI captain Mithali Raj admitted that the side was missing opener Smriti Mandhana after losing the first ODI to New Zealand by 62 runs on Saturday.Smriti, along with pacers Renuka Singh and Meghna Singh, are still in the MIQ (Managed Isolation and Quarantine) facility of the New Zealand government.”We are missing Smriti Mandhana and having an experienced batter in the side helps to chase a big target but it’s an opportunity for the others in the side to sort of show their game,” said Mithali in the post-match presentation ceremony.Chasing 275, India were never in the hunt to get over the line. Barring a partnership of 88 off 116 balls between Mithali (59) and Yastika Bhatia (41), the batting didn’t step up to the occasion. Mithali stated that the batting has to be better.”We should be able to score 270 because that’s the standard now in women’s cricket.

We need to have a certain run-rate to maintain through the innings so were able to score at least around 250 or 270 whether we bat first or chase.”Asked if India was short of match practice ahead of the series, Mithali remarked, “We definitely had a preparation camp, but there has been a huge gap between coming into New Zealand with extended quarantine in Mumbai and here as well.”She felt playing a series against the hosts before the women’s Cricket World Cup will benefit them.”It is important to get used to the conditions, it’s in a way good that we are playing as series before the World Cup.”Mithali signed off by outlining the positives and negatives from the match.”We definitely made a comeback in the latter half of the first innings. It took time for the bowlers to get used to the windy conditions, because there was a lot of breeze in the middle. The spinners are experienced a lot and they used to make a comeback in the innings.”



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