July 09 2020
Smriti Mandhana shines but India fail; New Zealand women win 1st T20
07 February 2019

Smriti Mandhana’s belligerent knock to no avail

Smriti Mandhana smashed a record half-century but the Indian women’s cricket team failed to make it count, going down by 23 runs in the opening T20 International against New Zealand here Wednesday.

Smriti bettered her own record by a ball for the fastest 50 by an Indian during her 58-run knock at the WestPac Stadium. The Indian reached the 50-mark off 24 deliveries and faced 34 balls in all which included seven hits to the fence and three sixes.

However, New Zealand pacer Lea Tahuhu played a decisive role with three scalps off her four overs to derail India’s chase, which was going smoothly till the time Smriti was at the crease. India eventually folded for 136 in 19.1 overs.

Leg-spinner Amelia Kerr picked up the crucial wickets of Smriti and Harmanpreet Kaur to wreck the visitors’ chances.

Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues (39 off 33 balls) combined for a 98-run second-wicket stand. But India collapsed in the face of an inspired performance by Lahuhu. From 101 for 1, the visiting team was down to 117 for six in a matter of five overs that turned the match on its head.

Earlier, opener Sophie Devine smashed a 48-ball 62 in an enterprising innings to take New Zealand to 159 for four from 20 overs after being put in to bat.

Devine’s aggressive innings was laced with six boundaries and two sixes. She and captain Amy Satterthwaite (33 off 27 balls) shared a 69-run stand for the third wicket to steer New Zealand out of trouble after a stuttering start.

Spinners Radha Yadav and Poonam Yadav dismissed Suzie Bates (7) and Caitlin Gurrey (15) cheaply to reduce the home side to 47 for two at the end of the seventh over. But the Indians failed to make further dents with Devine and Satterthwaite denying them any success for 8.3 overs.

Devine and Satterthwaite fell in the space of six deliveries off the bowling of Arundhati Reddy and Deepti Sharma in the 16th and 17th overs respectively but New Zealand still made a late flourish by scoring 38 runs from the final 3.3 overs.

Wicketkeeper Katey Martin remained not out on 27 from 14 balls as the home team scored 16 runs from the final over.



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