India rode high on the extraordinary knock of the captain Harmanpreet Kaur’s knock to dismiss the pre-tournament favourites New Zealand by 34 runs.
Everything went right from the toss for the skipper Kaur. She won the toss, opted to bat first considering the conditions which slowed down in the second half of the game, acting as India’s and their spinners’ plus point.
India surprised everyone by opening with Taniya Bhatia instead of Mithali Raj along with Smriti Mandhana. The move didn’t work out completely but Taniya did set the pace for the match before getting out to Tahuhu. A splendid catch from Hayley Jensen at the boundary saw Smriti Mandhana walking back earlier than one could expect. The debutant Hemalatha didn’t stay long as well. When India was three down, Young Jemimah Rodrigues once again joined hands with the captain Kaur. She removed the pressure from Kaur and kept the scoreboard ticking. Kaur struggled initially but once she settled in, destroyed every single bowler. Jemimah and Kaur added a record 134 runs for the fourth wicket. Jemimah made 59 off 45 while Kaur hammered the first T20 ton, scoring 103 off 51 deliveries with 7 fours and 8 sixes. This delightful knock took India to 194/5 in their 20 overs. While every single bowler gave away runs, Tahuhu, Kasperek and Devine were economical.
In a pitch where even 140 is a tough chase, India had the upper hand after scoring plenty. Still, the White Ferns had a good start, as Bates and Peterson scored 52 runs for the first wicket. After Peterson’s dismissal, nobody literally contributed and Bates, who smashed 67 was a mere spectator from the other end. A cameo down the order from Martin helped New Zealand to avoid the worst loss. In the end, India won by 34 runs.
A lot of credits must be given to the way Kaur rotated her bowling attack, not allowing the batters to settle in. Once again, New Zealand failed to read the spinners. The debutant Hemalatha was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets and was economical as well.
India moves an inch closer to the knockouts now. For the White Ferns, a lot of work must be done and must be done very quickly.