Mandhana, Goswami Lead India to Rare Overseas Series Win in NZ
- India take unassailable 2-0 lead in three-match series in New Zealand with 8-wicket win at Mount Maunganui.
- Mandhana (90*), Raj (63*) see India home in 35.2 overs after Goswami’s 3/23 had helped bowl NZ out for 161.
- This is India’s second ODI series win in NZ, and only their fourth in all bilateral series outside Asia against full-member nations.
It’s an Indian domination across genders in New Zealand.
The Indian women’s team have followed their male counterparts in registering a rare series win in the country after drubbing the hosts by 8 wickets in the second ODI at Mount Maunganui to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
For the second game running, the visiting Indians had the Kiwis on the mat after opting to bowl first. Having bundled New Zealand out for 192 in the opening game at Napier, India went one better by dismissing them for 161.
Smriti Mandhana then top-scored for the second straight time, following her century in the first ODI with an unbeaten 90.
Captain Mithali Raj, too, finished undefeated on 63 as India sailed to their target in 35.2 overs, in the process securing what is only their fourth ODI series win outside Asia against teams in the top-8 of the ICC rankings.
Jhulan Interrupts Spinners’ Show
The White Ferns, in a manner not too dissimilar to their counterpart Black Caps, had endured a trial by spin in the series opener on Thursday, 24 January. Ekta Bisht, Poonam Yadav and Deepthi Sharma had combined to take 8/101 in 29 overs in Napier, and while they were in the thick of things at Mount Maunganui too, the star of the show, as far as the first innings was concerned was Jhulan Goswami.
The 36-year-old veteran made an early dent into the New Zealand lineup, removing the dangerous Suzie Bates for 0 with the fourth ball of the match. Her opening spell of 5-1-11-1 allowed India to keep a firm grip on proceedings from the word go.
Goswami wasn’t done; she returned to remove the Kiwi tail in tandem with off-spinner Sharma, taking the wickets of Leigh Kasperek and Lea Tahuhu.
Sharma copped a bit of stick with the New Zealand batters showing greater intent against her usually wily off-breaks, but the Indian spin trio still returned impressive figures of 6/103 in 27 overs.
Skipper Amy Satterthwaite top-scored for her side with an 87-ball 71. That the next-best score was 21 highlighted her team’s plight better than any other yardstick.
No Stopping Mandhana’s Bat
90*, 105, 51, 14, 73*, 53*, 42, 86, 52, 67, 12, 0, 135, 84.
These are Smriti Mandhana’s scores in ODI cricket since the start of 2018.
That’s 864 in 14 innings at an average of 78.54. Only thrice has she got out for less than 40, the strike rate, for good measure, is an imposing 93.70 too.
In the first game, she had Jemimah Rodrigues for company all along the way to her fourth ODI hundred. On Tuesday, she lost her 18-year-old fellow opener early on, with Rodrigues failing to disturb the scoreboard. Deepti Sharma, elevated to number three, too failed to make a mark. But it made little difference to Mandhana.
New Zealand may have sniffed an opportunity with India 15/2, but that meant India’s two best ODI batters were together in the middle – and the class was on full showcase.
The left-handed Mandhana continued in her stroke-filled ways, hitting 13 fours and a six in her 83-ball stay. Raj took her time to settle in, but she too was among the boundaries as India approached the finish line, eventually bringing up a record-extending 52nd half-century in ODIs.
The series closes out with the third and final ODI at Hamilton on Friday, 1 February, where the Women in Blue will aim to complete a maiden clean-sweep in an ODI series outside Asia.