In the last two years, New Zealand women’s team has been hurt by India. In 2017, their passage to the knockouts of the Women’s World Cup was halted by Mithali Raj. In the 2018 World T20, Harmanpreet Kaur’s blazing ton played a big part in their elimination in the tournament. Now, in 2019, New Zealand continue to face plenty of pain by India, this time in Napier. A splendid century by Smriti Mandhana, combined with superb bowling spells from Ekta Bisht (3/32) and Poonam Yadav (3/42) helped India thrash New Zealand by nine wickets and with 17 overs to spare in the first ODI in Napier on Thursday. The India women’s team victory comes a day after Virat Kohli’s side had defeated the Blackcaps at the same venue by eight wickets on Wednesday.
India women’s team chose to bowl at McLean Park and it looked to have backfired as Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine stitched a 61-run stand for the opening wicket. However, Devine was run-out thanks to some wonderful work by Deepti Sharma and that stalled New Zealand’s women. With Bates (36) falling to Sharma, Amy Sattherthwaite the skipper and Amelia Kerr looked to rebuild for the hosts. However, Poonam Yadav got both set batters out in the space of four overs. Bisht ran through the lower middle order and it took some boundaries from Hannah Rowe (25) to get New Zealand close to 200 but they were bowled out for 192 in the 49th over.
In response, Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues started off on a positive note with couple of boundaries. Both players did not allow the New Zealand bowlers to settle and they scored at a rate of close to six. Mandhana went into top gear in the 12th over as she blasted two fours and a six off Holly Huddleston. The left-hander reached a fifty off 43 balls and she continued to target the White Ferns bowlers, launching Devine for another six.
Rodrigues notched up her fifty off 61 balls and she matched Mandhana stroke for stroke as both batters tore into the New Zealand bowling. Mandhana came closer to her century by lofting Amelia Kerr for her third six and she reached her century off just 101 balls. The partnership went past 150 and India could have registered a 10-wicket win but Mandhana was caught by Leah Tahuhu off Kerr to fall for a brilliant 105 with just three runs needed for victory.
This victory, which is part of the ICC Women’s Championship qualifying, will boost India’s chances for playing in the World Cup while for New Zealand, they will have to ensure they do not slip up big time in the upcoming fixtures.