Smriti, Mithali score fifties as India beat NZ in 2nd ODI.
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 triumph 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 for 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 ODI innings. She hit 105 in the first match of the ongoing series.
On Tuesday, she took just 82 deliveries in her unbeaten knock of 90. Raj, on the other hand, faced 111 deliveries in her sedate knock 63. But, she was a perfect counterfoil to the aggressive Mandhana. Raj completed the run chase in style with a six as India reached to 166 for 2 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,” Raj 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 visiting side beat New Zealand in the first one-dayer by nine wickets at the same venue on January 24. The third and final match of the series is scheduled to be held in Hamilton on February 1.
It was a fitting revenge for the Indian team, which had lost the home leg of the ICC Women’s Championship series 1-2 to New Zealand.
Brief scores: New Zealand 161 in 44.2 overs (Satterthwaite 71, Goswami 3/23) lost to India 166/2 in 35.2 overs (Mandhana 90*, Mithali 63*).