Smriti Mandhana stars as Indian eves clinch series

Smriti Mandhana
Opener Smriti Mandhana scored an unbeaten 90. File photo: AFP
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Mount Maunganui: Opener Smriti Mandhana led the chase for India with familiar panache after a feisty bowling performance that steered the side to a series-clinching eight-wicket win over New Zealand women in the second one-dayer here on Tuesday.

Opting to field, India produced an excellent effort to bowl out New Zealand for a paltry 161 in 44.2 overs before player of the match Mandhana (90 not out) and skipper Mithali Raj (63 not out) stitched a 151-run unbroken third-wicket stand to guide the team to an easy win.

The duo resurrected the Indian run chase from 15/2 after the early loss of opener Jemimah Rodrigues (0) and Deepti Sharma (8).

"It feels great, but I think our bowlers deserved the player of the match award more than me. I will give it away to our bowlers, they did a great job to restrict New Zealand on a good wicket," Mandhana said in the post-match presentation.

The 22-year-old Mandhana has been in excellent form in recent times and Tuesday's half-century was her eighth in the last 10 ODIs. She had scored 105 in the first match of the ongoing series.

On Tuesday, she took just 82 deliveries for her unbeaten 90.

Mithali, on the other hand, faced 111 deliveries in her sedate knock. But, she was the perfect foil to the aggressive Mandhana.

Mithali completed the run chase in style with a six as India romped home in 35.2 overs.

"I am happy with the way the team is shaping up. I have always enjoyed batting in challenging conditions. It wasn't easy, it required patience here. Smriti is in good form and somebody had to give her support," Mithali said.

India have now taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match contest, which is part of the ICC Women's Championship series. The visitors beat New Zealand in the first one-dayer by nine wickets at the same venue. The third and final match of the series is scheduled to be held in Hamilton on Friday.

It was sweet revenge for the Indian eves, who had lost the home leg of the ICC Women's Championship series 1-2 to New Zealand during the last cycle that ran from 2014 to 2016.

New Zealand are ranked second in the ICC Women's Championship table and are guaranteed a direct entry into the 50-over World Cup being the hosts.

Just like the first match, India opted to field and shot New Zealand out for 161 with senior pacer Jhulan Goswami grabbing 3/23 to lead the Indian bowling charge.

The spin trio of Ekta Bisht, Poonam Yadav and Deepti Sharma, who had tormented New Zealand in India's nine-wicket win in the first ODI, took two wickets each to stifle the Kiwi innings yet again.

New Zealand captain Amy Satterthwaite top-scored with a 71 off 87 balls before she became Yadav's first victim in the 34th over. But she got little support from her other team-mates.

"Frustrated to be honest, not putting enough runs on the board. Just comes down to that really," she said after the match.

New Zealand made a disastrous start with opener Suzie Bates being dismissed for a nought off the fourth ball.

The home side were 62/5 in the 21st over and despite a spirited effort from Satterthwaite, they were all out for 161 in 44.2 overs, failing to bat through their full quota of overs for the second time in a row. 

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